Unintentional drug overdoses are on the rise on the Border and in the North East, according to new national data.
There were 67 deaths due to drug overdoses in the Albury, Wodonga-Alpine and Wangaratta-Benalla statistical areas that were deemed unintentional by legal rulings.
The Penington Institute Annual Overdose Report shows an alarming increase in drug overdoses that could have been avoided, including a 67 per cent increase in the Wodonga-Alpine area.
In the five years between 2014 and 2018, 20 Wodonga-Alpine residents died of unintentional overdoses.
"This is a 67 per cent increase on the 12 unintentional overdose deaths recorded between 2009 and 2013," the report said.
Penington Institute chief executive John Ryan said one death is too many.
"Twenty is an unacceptably high number - and it's 20 too many," he said.
"The data is clear: the overdose situation in the Wodonga-Alpine region is getting worse.
IN OTHER NEWS:
"People are suffering and dying unnecessarily, and all levels of government and society need to do more to keep them safe. This is Australia's hidden health crisis.
"By releasing this report with the most up-to-date data, we're looking to start a conversation, bring overdose out of the shadows and ultimately reduce harms."
In the same five year data period, there were 22 Wangaratta-Benalla residents who died of unintentional overdoses, eight more than in the five years prior.
There were 25 deaths in the Albury area, this is the same number as the five years prior, but 47 per cent higher than the 17 unintentional overdose deaths between 2004 and 2008.
There were 1556 unintentional drug-induced deaths in Australia in 2018.