THE death of a Bendigo teenager who over-dosed on methadone has prompted calls for an urgent review of the drug treatment program.
A coroner’s findings into 16-year-old Helen Maree Stagoll's death found there were “significant gaps” in the health department’s methadone program.
Although the teen was not on the methadone program, an autopsy revealed the drug was in her system.
The findings handed down on Tuesday showed Helen used a combination of drugs in the final hours of her life on May 2, 2010.
The inquest was told Helen was intellectually disabled and had experienced significant violent and physical abuse, as well as periods of homelessness.
Coroner Jacinta Heffey said Helen had been admitted to Secure Welfare Services 14 times in her short life. It was suspected she had provided sexual services for money and drugs while she was in and out of the Department of Human Services care.
Helen's boyfriend, who was then aged 24, told the court he had refused to give her methadone that he was prescribed, but admitted the pair had taken other drugs the day of her death.
A doctor’s report found Helen died from the combined effects of methadone, xanax and cannabis.
The findings showed Helen was one of at least 42 deaths linked to methadone sourced from people on the treatment program between 2010 and 2011.
Ms Heffey said the statistics were alarming to say the least, and pointed to a need for a sweeping review of the department’s policy on methadone.