MS PATTEN (Northern Metropolitan) (10:07:56) — It was International Overdose Awareness Day last week, and I was pleased to speak at a number of community organisation events, including Banyule Community Health and the Australian Community Support Organisation. I heard the stories of people who had tragically lost brothers, sons and daughters and also the triumphant stories of people who had overcome addiction and had gone on to a very strong path of recovery. We also noted the rise in overdose deaths. Since 2014 overdose deaths have nearly doubled in Australia. We are now reaching close to the epidemic proportions of accidental overdose deaths that we saw in the 1990s.
I just want to reflect and report back to the Parliament on the disappointment of the alcohol and drug sector in the government’s response to the drug law reform report. Their response did not respond to the report at all. It spoke about their past achievements, which I would say have led to a chronic shortage of treatment services and to an ever-increasing number of accidental drug overdoses in Victoria. This report was seen as a landmark report, and the government’s response to it is incredibly disappointing to all of those who worked so hard in providing submissions to it.
Read the Government response here.