Health report card: prescription opioids causing increasing harm

Health report card: prescription opioids causing increasing harm

Media Release

21 June 2018


Health report card: prescription opioids causing increasing harm


ScriptWise is calling for more action to prevent prescription opioid related harms following evidence of Increasing rates of hospitalisations and drug-induced deaths in Australia’s health 2018.


According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s health report card (3.17 Opioid harm):

+ In 2016 more than 1,100 drug-induced deaths mentioned opioid poisoning (one or more times), up 89% from 591 deaths in 2007

+ In 2015-16 the rate of hospitalisations with an opioid-related principle diagnosis was 37 per 100,000 population, a 12% increase since 2011-12

+ In 2011, opioid use was responsible for 0.9% of the total burden of disease and injuries


ScriptWise CEO Bee Mohamed says that more awareness about the risks associated with using and prescribing prescription opioids is essential if Australia is to reverse this dangerous trend.


“Prescription opioids such as oxycodone, morphine and fentanyl are primarily responsible for accidental opioid related deaths in Australia,” says Ms Mohamed.


“Unfortunately, many Australians don’t know the very serious harms, such as dependence, which can occur if opioids are used in the long-term for the management of pain.”


ScriptWise is calling on the federal government to commit to a public awareness campaign to increase awareness about this issue and reduce the stigma around seeking help.


“Evidence has shown that the stigma around opioid dependence is a major barrier for people seeking out potentially life-saving treatment,” says Ms Mohamed


“Opioid dependence can happen to anyone, and it can happen within just five days.”


“People need to know that prescription medication dependence is a medical issue, and that effective treatment is available.”


“Australia still has a small window to stop further escalation of opioid-related harms and overdose deaths.”


“We need only look at the opioid crisis in the US to know the ongoing devastation inaction may cause.”




For further information or interviews please contact: Lara Beissbarth m: 0425 872 744 or e:

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