Publications & Reports

Patterns and characteristics of ambulance attendance at heroin overdose at a local-area level in Melbourne, Australia: implications for service provision.

Paul Dietze, Damien Jolley, Stefan Cvetkovski
Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre, Inc, Deakin University, Australia. [email protected]


The monitoring of heroin use and related harms is undertaken in Australia with a view to inform policy responses. Some surveillance data on heroin-related harms is well suited to inform the planning and delivery of heroin-related services, such as needle and syringe provision. This article examines local-area variation in the characteristics of nonfatal heroin overdoses attended by ambulances in Melbourne over the period June 1998 to October 2000 to inform the delivery of services to the heroin-using population in Melbourne. Five so-called hot spot local government areas were considered in relation to the remainder of the Melbourne metropolitan area. Significant local-area variations in the characteristics of nonfatal heroin overdoses were evident over the study period, including the number of heroin overdoses, the age and sex of the people attended, the time of the attendance, the likelihood of hospitalization, and the likelihood of police coattendance. The implications of the findings are discussed in terms of service provision (e.g., opening hours) within the five hot spot local government areas, and it is argued that the analyses undertaken could easily be applied to other jurisdictions for which comparable data are available.


  • Journal: Journal of urban health : bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine
  • Published: 01/06/2003
  • Volume: 80
  • Issue: 2
  • Pagination: 248-260