Twenty-three people have died after overdosing on pharmaceutical medicines in the south-west alarming data has revealed.
The figures from the Victorian Coroners Court shows 14 people from the Glenelg local government area and nine from Warrnambool died between 2009 and 2015.
Those figures far outnumber the amount of people who died from alcohol or illegal drug overdoses.
Warrnambool will host a community education session with health professionals on Wednesday with an expert panel of pharmacists and doctors discussing the impact of prescription medication harms.
The event, organised by ScriptWise, is being launched in support of the implementation of the state government’s real-time prescription monitoring system, SafeScript in late October. Warrnambool and the south-west will be the first area to implement SafeScript later this year.
The forum will also highlight how people can address underlying health conditions such as chronic pain and anxiety which often lead to long-term use of high-risk medications such opioids and benzodiazepines.
Warrnambool addiction specialist Dr Rodger Brough will speak at the event.
“Sometimes people might not realise they have become dependent on their medications and that is why they are experiencing withdrawal symptoms,” he said.
He said the “earlier people talk to their GP about this, the better it would be”.
The session will be held at South West TAFE, Building B, Level 3 from 5pm.
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