ScriptWise and affected families call for national summit on current opioid crisis

ScriptWise and affected families call for national summit on current opioid crisis

MEDIA RELEASE

 

6 March 2019

 

ScriptWise and affected families call for national summit on current opioid crisis

 

ScriptWise is calling on the Federal Government to recognise the severity of the current opioid crisis in Australia and host a national summit to address it.

 

The appeal comes after a NSW coronial investigation recommended the state convene a drug summit to discuss rising opioid harms.

 

Every day in Australia approximately three people die due to the use of opioids.[1]

 

“It’s clear that a multi-faceted and comprehensive action plan is needed to address this issue nationally,” says ScriptWise CEO Bee Mohamed.

 

“A national pharmaceutical roundtable would lay the groundwork for a unified approach to reducing medication harms, and bring together medical professials, consumers and those directly affected to find practical solutions.”

 

Sandra McGivern has advocated for more to be done to prevent families from losing loved ones after her 28-year-old son Angus died due to an accidental fentanyl overdose in 2017.

 

Sandra’s petition to restrict fentanyl prescribing in the wake of her son’s death has gained over 25,000 signatures.

 

“Dozens of families have contacted me because they too have lived through seeing their sons, daughters, siblings or parents overdose due to using opioids,” says Ms McGivern.

 

“The thing is that so many of these deaths could be prevented if this issue was treated as the serious health condition it is.”

 

NSW coroner Ms Grahame suggested the NSW drug summit should include discussions on a range of topics including:

+ how to reduce overdose deaths

+ the availability of non-pharmaceutical pain management options (such as physiotherapy)[2]

 

Ms Mohamed says that the Coroner’s recommendations were applicable to most states and territories across the country.

 

For further information, high-resolution images, or interviews please contact: Lara Beissbarth, m: 0425 872 744 / e:lara@scriptwise.org.au

 

[1] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2018, ‘Opioid harm in Australia and comparisons between Australia and Canada’. Accessed January 2019 https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/illicit-use-of-drugs/opioid-harm-in-australia/contents/summary

[2] Angus Thompson, Sydney Morning Herald, “It will take courage’: Coroner urges summit on drug decriminalisation”, March 1 2019 Accessed March 2019 https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/coroner-recommends-nsw-government-stage-discussion-on-drug-decriminalisation-20190301-p51138.html

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