Calls for saving lifesaving medicine

A former heroin addict, whose brother died of a drug overdose, has called for a life-saving drug that reverses the effect of opioids to be freely available.

Naloxone has been put in the spotlight after a report on lethal opioid overdoses that shoot up in Australia.

The Penington Institute has made a plea for the drug, which can temporarily reverse an overdose of opioids and be made available free of charge in the pharmacies and the emergency departments of the hospital.

Opioids are the illegal heroin, along with prescription drugs such as oxycodone, codeine and morphine.

President of Penington Institute, John Ryan, warned that Australia is facing a "crisis of overdose in the American style of drug addiction." rushes after 2177 people died in 2016.

Recipe opioid mortality jumped 87 percent in Australia in the seven years from 2008.

"There are answers to this crisis and we have to put absolute emphasis on a naloxone and bring it into the hands of the people who need it the most," Ryan said.

Health Minister Greg Hunt launched a report from the Penington Institute in parliament on Wednesday, saying that more should be done to prevent drug-related deaths.

During the launch, a Victorian woman told her fight against drug addiction and the pain of her brother who died in avoidable circumstances.

Bendigo & # 39; s Narelle Hassett nearly died after a heroin overdose 20 years ago, before the paramedics gave her naloxone.

She has turned her life around and has become an active champion of awareness about naloxone.

Her brother Shane was not so lucky and died in 2010, leaving a six months old daughter behind.

"My story is a contrast – I am here today because naloxone saved my life," Hassett told AAP.

"But there are so many others like my younger brother who is no longer alive.

"To think about whether my parents had naloxone that morning and knew how to administer it and know how to do the right things, it would still be there today.

"His little girl is now seven and she always asks her father, it's pretty shocking."

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