Penny Hill from the Burnet Institute presented at the 2020 NDARC Seminar Series on Thursday, 20 February 2020. 

Opioid overdose is a significant public health issue, with people who inject drugs (PWID) a key risk group. However, there is little contemporary information on opioid overdose incidence in Australia and limited evidence of the impact of factors affecting incidence among PWID. Further evidence on the risk and protective factors of opioid overdose will help determine how to prevent these overdoses from occurring.

In this seminar, Penny provides a preliminary examination of the range of information available on opioid overdose in the SuperMIX study, Australia’s largest and only active cohort study of PWID. She explores a range of self-report and linked data including data collected on ambulance attendances (through VACIS), emergency department presentations (through the Victorian Emergency Minimum Dataset) and deaths (through the National Death Index). Findings around opioid overdose incidence are presented along with predictors of overdose (socio- demographic characteristics, alcohol and other drug use, and health service-related factors) and some preliminary consideration of interrelations between different data sources.

Speaker Bio:

Penny Hill is a PhD candidate at the Burnet Institute and Monash University investigating the impact of health service use on opioid overdose among people who inject drugs (PWID).She has studied Health Sciences (University of Sydney), Public Health (Umea University, Sweden) and International Development (Deakin University). She currently works as a Research Assistant within the Centre for Research Excellence into Injecting Drug Use at the Burnet Institute, coordinating the National Naloxone Reference Group and conducted fieldwork for the SuperMIX cohort study of PWID.

Penny has a background as a community health worker in outreach needle and syringe programs across Melbourne and Sydney, and experience volunteering in festival and nightlife harm reduction services in Australia, New Zealand and Canada. She is a founding member of Pill Testing Australia, and through this role assisted in establishing the first government supported drug checking trials in Canberra in 2018 and 2019. Penny is the co-founder of Students for Sensible Drug Policy Australia, current board member of Harm Reduction Victoria and Harm Reduction Australia, Deputy Secretary of the Vienna NGO Committee to the UN Office of Drugs and Crime, and Oceania Representative of the International Drug Policy Consortium’s Members Advisory Committee.


Penny Hill
Date Commenced
19 Mar 2020
Resource Type
NDARC Seminars