Overdose deaths have claimed 100 lives in the North East in the past decade, leading to calls for better rehabilitation services in regional areas.
The Victorian coroner has investigated drug and alcohol deaths between 2011 and 2020, with 4551 lives lost in that time.
Overdoses claimed 33 lives in Wodonga during that period and 28 people died in Wangaratta.
The number of deaths varied greatly from year to year.
Wodonga recorded a peak of nine deaths in 2018 but none last year.
Those numbers don't include other drug-related deaths, including alcoholic liver disease or drug or alcohol affected car crashes.
Victorian Alcohol and Drug Association executive officer Sam Biondo said addiction was a complex issue, but those struggling with substance problems had to want to stop.
For Yarrawonga woman Alyssa Pawley, that decision came when she found out she was pregnant after seven years of ice use.
"It numbed all the pain," she said of using for the first time, which quickly spiralled into an addiction.
"It numbed everything I was going through and that's the reason I kept doing it."
Before using ice, she'd only used marijuana.
Ms Pawley smoked meth at first before moving onto injecting multiple times a day.
While she only spent three months locked up, she said the time in custody was "horrible".
"I got bashed," the 26-year-old said.
"Drugs are easily available in there and it's just disgusting, people share the same needle."
Falling pregnant led to an instant decision to stop using.
While the withdrawals were bad, it wasn't a hard decision to stop.
Ms Pawley said she wanted to speak out about addiction in a bid to help others.
"You can't get help unless you actually want it," she said.
"I was looking for something to hold on to, to fight for.
"I guess I couldn't find it until I fell pregnant with my daughter.
The coronial data shows men are twice as likely as women to die of an overdose, and those aged 35 to 54 are most at risk.
Three-quarters of deaths involved the use of multiple drugs at the same time.
Benzodiazepines claimed the most lives, followed by illegal drugs, prescription opioids, antidepressants and alcohol.
The coronavirus pandemic hasn't had a significant impact on drug and alcohol deaths.
The coronial report raised concerns about the increased contribution of anticonvulsant medication pregabalin in deaths, and the emergence of new psychoactive substances which aren't well understood.
The 53-year-old had a drug known as Cumyl-PeGACLONE in his system and collapsed while on an Albury-bound train.
In a report released last year, coroner Audrey Jamieson noted synthetic cannabis had led to multiple deaths.
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Mr Biondo noted prescription medication claimed far more lives than street drugs.
"We need to come to terms with the fact most deaths from overdose come from chemist-dispensed products," he said.
"Many people have no clue how extremely dangerous they can be for you and for a range of reasons end up dying from it.
"Historically we've been very bad at looking at the biggest killers which are community approved substances like alcohol and pharmaceuticals."
He said measures which could make a difference were controversial, but worked, including safe injection rooms, reduced alcohol advertising and diverting people from prison to rehabilitation.
"We could also improve our pharmacotherapy and look at alternative therapies for people in pain," Mr Biondo said.
"Doctors could speak to their clients a bit longer rather than just prescribe a pill.
"We can improve the treatment system to make it much more accessible and remove the stigma which prevents people seeking treatment."
Ms Pawley said there was light at the end of the tunnel for addicts.
"I don't miss that life at all," she said.
"I'm loving what I'm doing now, absolutely loving it."
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