Family members who have lost loved ones call for system to prevent more deaths

Family members who have lost loved ones call for system to prevent more deaths

MEDIA RELEASE

 

21 AUGUST 2018

 

Family members who have lost loved ones call for system to prevent more deaths

 

Today in an open letter to Health Ministers across Australia, close to 30 family members have called for action to prevent others from experiencing a similar loss.

 

The families feel that their heartfelt plea for national real-time prescription monitoring and more community education will ensure their loved ones did not die in vain.

 

Margaret Millington, a mother from Nhill in country Victoria who lost her 34-year-old son Simon to an accidental prescription medication overdose, has been a driving force behind this campaign.

 

“Simon was a caring and compassionate son and brother and a loving father to his little daughter Maddie. He was also a qualified and skilled auto electrician,” said Margaret.

 

Simon became dependent on opioids after he suffered life-threatening injuries in a car accident when he was 18. Due to his injuries, he spent months in hospital and underwent several operations throughout the following years.

 

At the height of his addiction, Simon often crossed State borders to seek further medications.

 

“If national real-time monitoring had been in place after Simon’s accident, I doubt his drug use would have spiralled out of control as it did,” said Margaret.

 

“He would have been given another chance and he may still be with us today.”

 

Margaret and her husband John have campaigned for the implementation of a national real-time prescription monitoring system since, writing to Ministers for over a decade.

 

“How many people like Simon have died since then? And what will it take for the remaining State governments to finally implement the system?”

 

Tasmania is currently the only State to have implemented real-time monitoring, with Victoria set to roll-out its system, SafeScript, later this year.

 

In July 2016 the Federal Government committed $16 million to a national scheme and Health Minister Greg Hunt has called on States to commit to its roll-out.

 

ScriptWise CEO Bee Mohamed said she is proud of the role the non-profit organisation played in connecting family members affected by this issue.

 

“We need more education for community members and health professionals, and better access to treatment services here in Australia to prevent more families from being affected. This is something that can happen to anyone,” said Ms Mohamed.

 

“Although real-time prescription monitoring isn’t a panacea, it’s an important first step to address this issue. It will help save lives.”

 

Real-time monitoring is supported by peak medical bodies, including the Australian Medical Association and the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners.

 

For grieving families, the memories of their loved ones will remain with them forever, but the successful implementation of a national real-time prescription monitoring system will ensure their deaths were not in vain.

 

ENDS

 

For further information, or interviews with Margaret Millington or ScriptWise CEO Bee Mohamed please contact:

 

Lara Beissbarth

m: 0425 872 744

e:  lara@scriptwise.org.au

 

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