An accidental drug overdose death is recorded in Brimbank almost every six weeks, according to new figures.

Australia’s Annual Overdose Report 2017 by the non-profit Penington Institute, shows Australians are dying from overdose in increasing numbers. Between 2001-15, there were 139 recorded accidental overdose deaths in Brimbank, with such deaths across Australia more than double those associated with car accidents in the same period.

Penington Institute chief executive John Ryan said the report highlighted the increasing rates of accidental overdose deaths through the use of opioid-based drugs. Opioids include methadone, heroin and pharmaceutical opioid painkillers such as codeine and oxycodone.

Australia’s Annual Overdose Report 2017 shows that communities throughout Australia are increasingly at risk of accidental overdose from opioid-based drugs,” Mr Ryan said.

“Every year in Australia, hundreds of people die from an accidental drug overdose (and) many more survive but are deeply affected and are at increased risk of overdosing again.”

The Penington Institute held a seminar this week at Dempster Park Hall, Sunshine North, to train frontline workers to better deal with overdoses. It is one of 18 being run across Victoria.

“It’s critical that frontline workers are adequately supported to effectively respond to overdose,” Mr Ryan said. “These seminars will save lives while also raising awareness in terms of who is at risk and what can be done to curb the tragedy of overdose.

“Professionals who engage with people who use drugs are in the best position to help their clients and to prevent and respond to overdose.

“The purpose of this training is to increase the capacity of workers in a variety of roles to provide support and information that can help save lives.”