SYDNEY, Feb. 24 (Xinhua) -- The Victorian government has announced that it will subsidize a drug that reverses heroin overdoses.
Naloxone, which usually costs 75 U.S. dollars when bought over the counter, will be free for drug users and families who can not afford it under a one-million-dollar package announced by the government on Friday.
Drug users, overdose survivors and their families will also be offered greater access to support services as part of the package.
"It's a great step and we welcome the announcement," John Ryan, CEO of the Penington Institute, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) on Friday.
Naloxane is an anti-opioid which is administered in the event of an overdose with near-instant results, potentially saving lives.
The drug, which was made available without a prescription in Victoria in 2016, has been supported by the not-for-profit Pennington Institute for more than five years.
"Survivors are more likely to overdose again so this support is vital," Ryan said.
Records released by Victoria's coroner showed that around 80 percent of drug overdoses in Victoria in 2015-16 were a result of opioids such as oxycodone, codeine and methadone.
"This investment will help make Naloxone more affordable and provide more people with the skills to identify and respond to overdose," said Martin Foley, minister for mental health.