Coffs Harbour Overdose Report 2020

Penington Institute

Unintentional overdose deaths in regional NSW

Region 2004-2008 2009-2013 2014-2018
Sydney (Inner City) 138 150 176
Blacktown
(Blacktown and
Blacktown North) 30 52 70
Canterbury 31 26 39
Cronulla—Miranda— 33 24 35
Caringbah
Manly 5 11 10
Parramatta 33 47 45
Newcastle 49 49 85
Hunter Valley (Upper 20 28 38
and Lower Hunter)
Albury [for Wodonga, see
the VIC table] 17 25 25
Broken Hill and Far West 4 6 17
Gosford 56 54 69
Coffs Harbour 17 31 46
Dubbo 10 17 30
Wollongong 32 42 62
Port Macquarie 14 14 39
Snowy Mountains 5 6 12
Tamworth—Gunnedah 7 18 26
Tweed Valley 16 34 35
Wagga Wagga 20 23 30
* Numbers of unintentional overdose deaths are aggregate totals for these five-year periods
# Where calculations are based on very low numbers (1–4), cells are randomised to protect confidentiality, therefore a percentage change cannot be calculated
Rate of unintentional overdose deaths per 100,000 population:
2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Greater Sydney 5.4 5.8 5.5 5.6 5.1 5.9 6.2 6.9 6.5 7 6
Regional NSW 4.5 5.1 5.7 6.4 6.9 6.2 8.8 8.3 9.1 8.9 7.9
Main findings:
• In the five years between 2014 and 2018, 46 Coffs Harbour residents died of unintentional overdoses. This is 15 more than in the five years between 2009 and 2013, corresponding to an almost 50 per cent increase.
• In 2018, 216 residents of regional NSW died of unintentional overdose, compared to 308 residents of Greater Sydney (there were a total of 524 unintentional overdose deaths across NSW).
• The rate of unintentional overdose deaths has been higher in regional NSW than Greater Sydney every year since 2010.
• 2018 marked the fifth consecutive year of 500+ unintentional overdose deaths in New South Wales. There have been 2,798 unintentional overdose deaths in NSW over that time.
As noted by Mr John Ryan, CEO of Penington Institute:
“In the five years between 2014 and 2018, there were 46 unintentional overdose deaths in Coffs Harbour. That’s an unacceptably high number – and it’s 46 too many.”
“The data is clear: the overdose situation in Coffs Harbour is worsening. People are suffering and dying unnecessarily and all levels of government and society are not doing enough to keep them safe.”
“This is Australia’s hidden health crisis. By releasing this Report with the most up-to-date data, we’re looking to start a conversation, bring overdose out of the shadows and ultimately reduce harms.”
“Penington Institute is releasing this year’s Annual Overdose Report on International Overdose Awareness Day, the world’s largest annual campaign to end overdose, remember those who have died without stigma and acknowledge the grief of the family and friends left behind.”
“International Overdose Awareness Day was first observed in Melbourne in 2001. This year is the 20th IOAD and it is being recognised with events around the world, including local landmarks around Australia being lit purple in support of the campaign.”
About Penington Institute
Penington Institute connects lived experience and research to improve community safety in relation to drugs, including alcohol and pharmaceuticals.
https://www.penington.org.au/
https://www.overdoseday.com/
/Public Release. This material comes from the originating organization and may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length.