• Drugs, alcohol causing illness


    MORE than one person a day needs urgent medical assistance for alcohol and other drug related conditions in Wangaratta.

    During the 2013-14 financial year there were 374 emergency department presentations at Northeast Health Wangaratta (NHW) directly linked to alcohol and other drugs.

    NHW chief executive officer Margaret Bennett said these conditions included the diagnosis of toxic effects of alcohol, and mental and behavioral disorders due to alcohol.

    She said a range of mental and behavioral disorders due to stimulants and hallucinogenic drugs, along with benzodiazepine and psychotropic drug poisoning were also diagnosed and treated.

    On top of this, Ms Bennett said the true picture is more difficult to substantiate, as patients also present with conditions – falls, fractures or accidents – where the drug or alcohol diagnosis is the secondary condition.

    The constant nature of these presentations has put extra strain on staff at NHW, who often have to manage aggressive patients.

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