GPs in western Victoria will be the first in the country to test out a large-scale real-time prescription monitoring system, as the state moves to tackle a growing spate of deaths from addictive legal drugs.

The SafeScript program will become available to GPs across the Western Victoria Primary Health Network from October, ahead of a state-wide roll-out next year that will cover 6000 GPs.

WIMMERA health and community workers have a rare opportunity to learn from specialists at a forum in Nhill next week.

The hepatitis B and C workshop will help people learn more about the disease, which affects hundreds of thousands of Australians but often goes undiagnosed.

RECORD crowds for the annual Out of the Shadows event reinforces the far-reaching effects suicide has on this city and a growing move to try and tackle the issue at the grassroots, according to Ballarat councillor and policeman Des Hudson.

Out of the Shadows remembers loved ones lost to suicide and aims to change the conversation about suicide in a pre-dawn walk by Lake Wendouree that symbolically finishes as light breaks the darkness.

Victoria’s SafeScript real-time prescription monitoring system will come online next month, with the Western Victoria Primary Health Network poised to be the first to use the platform designed to prevent doctor shopping.

SafeScript will be activated across the state early next year, according to the state’s Minister for Health Jill Hennessy, who this week joined clinicians at a Yarraville pharmacy to announce the initial October go-live.

Victoria will begin tracking opioid and benzodiazepine prescriptions in real time to help combat doctor-shopping, addiction and overdoses.

Health Minister Jill Hennessy says the monitoring system, to be used by prescribing doctors and pharmacists, will be rolled out across the western Victorian primary health network on Monday before extending to the rest of the state from early next year.