Chatham Probus Club tackles tough topic with implementation of new prescription monitoring system

Chatham Probus Club tackles tough topic with implementation of new prescription monitoring system



07 February 2019


Chatham Probus Club tackles tough topic with implementation of new prescription monitoring system


On Wednesday Chatham Probus Club shone a light on how its members could prevent prescription medication harms, inviting national not-for-profit organisation ScriptWise to speak at their monthly meeting.


In Boroondara alone, 50 people died due to an overdose involving prescription medications between 2009 and 2015[1]. Prescription medication related overdose deaths have outnumbered the roadtoll in Victoria since 2012.[2]


The Club made the decision to start the conversation about how to avoid medication dependence in response to the upcoming implementation of Victoria’s real-time prescription monitoring system, SafeScript, later this year.


SafeScript will provide doctors and pharmacists with access to prescription histories for high risk pain and sedative medications such as opioids and benzodiazepines to enable safer clinical decisions.


The system is currently being implemented in Western Victoria where it has already identified over 3,300 people at risk of harm or overdose from visiting multiple clinics or pharmacies.[3] It will be rolled out across Victoria in April.


Chatham Probus Club President Sheila Bellamy says that club members and the broader community might not have appreciated the extent of the problem.


“Older people are often taking all sorts of prescriptions and it’s important they know the potential dangers of using these medications,” said Professor Bellamy.


Medication Support and Recovery Service representative and physiotherapist, Julius Ting joined a panel of local experts at the Club’s meeting to shed light on how community members can get effective treatment for medication dependence.


“There is a lot of stigma about medication misuse and dependence but this is something that can happen to anyone. Our service works with people from all walks of life.”


It is important to first speak with a health professional if you are concerned about your medication use and before stopping your medication as this can cause potentially dangerous side-effects.


To seek advice or support call the SafeScript Pharmaceutical Helpline on 1800 737 233. If you live in Booroondara and are concerned about your medication use or a friend or family member you can also call the Medication Support and Recovery Service on 1800 931 101 or visit





For further information, high-resolution images, or interviews please contact: Lara Beissbarth, m: 0425 872 744 / e:







ScriptWise is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to preventing prescription medication related harms through raising awareness, engagement and advocacy.


ScriptWise’s One Too Many initiative is being launched in support of the Victorian government’s implementation of its real-time prescription monitoring system, SafeScript.


ScriptWise’s One Too Many community initiative is dedicated to:

+ Raising awareness about the risks associated with long-term use of prescription opioids such as opioids or benzodiazepines

+ Ensuring Victorians understand the role and importance of SafeScript in saving lives across the State

+ Promoting preventative strategies and activities within communities


To find out more please visit:




SafeScript is a real-time prescription monitoring system the Victorian Government will be implementing across the state in April 2019. SafeScript aims to reduce the growing harms, including deaths, from high-risk prescription medicines such as opioids and benzodiazepines.


For more information visit:


[1] Coroners Prevention Unit, ‘Coroners Prevention Unit Data Summary. Victorian overdose deaths 2009-2015’, 16 March 2016

[2] Coroners Prevention Unit, ‘Attachments to the submission of her Honour Judge Sara Hinchey’. Accessed Jan 2019:

[3] Premier of Victoria, ‘Media release’. Accessed Jan 2019:

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