news, national

A major lockdown of regional Victoria overnight will be lifted tomorrow as the state records zero deaths. Federal and state health authorities say 12 people have died after overdoses over a four-week period as road closures have been put in place and access has been restricted in several places. Police Superintendent Paul Keating says the crackdown started to slow the spread of drug-fuelled violence this week but warning of other side effects has not helped prevent people from abusing prescription and illegal pills. He says the state has seen an “extent of drug abuse that’s leading to violence and death”. Superintendent Keating says officers have arrested 111 people, have caught 60 drug-dealers and are undertaking other “major” operations. Dr Keating says a key focus has been on preventative measures with more investment to look after vulnerable people and people living with prescription drugs. At the height of the crackdown police sprayed chemical pepper spray at motorists suspected of stowing illicit pills along Melbourne’s motorways in a 24-hour police exercise.

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