ScriptWise Health Expo aims to reduce overdose due to prescription medications

ScriptWise Health Expo aims to reduce overdose due to prescription medications


16 August 2018


ScriptWise Health Expo aims to reduce overdose due to prescription medications


Local health organisations will join ScriptWise to encourage community members to avoid prescription medication harms at a One Too Many Health Expo in Warrnambool on August 22 at 5pm.


The new ScriptWise initiative is called One Too Many because one too many Victorians are dying due to prescription medication overdose. In Warrnambool between 2009 and 2015, approximately 75 percent of overdose deaths involved pharmaceutical medications.


The Health Expo will feature workshops, presentations and information tables for community members to learn how to address the underlying health conditions such as chronic pain and anxiety which often lead to long-term use of high-risk medications such opioids and benzodiazepines.


An expert panel will also discuss the impact of prescription medication harms in Warrnambool and provide insights into how to reduce risks and seek help when needed.


“Prescription medication overuse can be accidental. Sometimes people are surprised that they can become dependent or addicted,” says community pharmacist and panellist Josephine McDowall.


“As a pharmacist, it’s about highlighting to patients that some medications can be addictive and identifying dependence or addiction before it takes hold. Real-time prescription monitoring is a great tool to help prevent medication overuse.”


“We don’t like to give opioids or benzodiazepines until we have to and it’s not for the long-term. We want to encourage patients to seek a broader health plan to help manage pain or anxiety.”


Local addiction specialist Dr Rodger Brough, who currently runs a program to help GPs and their patients to manage prescription medication dependence and addiction, will also lend his expertise to the panel.


“Sometimes we see people who might have started using codeine for their headaches and start using more and more over time or start to experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop,” said Dr Brough.


“Sometimes people might not realise they have become dependent on their medications and that is why they are experiencing withdrawal symptoms.”


“The earlier people talk to their GP about this, the better it would be,” he said.


Warrnambool clinical and health psychologist Jodie Fleming will host a workshop at the Expo on mental wellbeing to give community members insight into effective ways to manage anxiety and sleep issues naturally.


“The workshop is a chance for people to learn some tangible take-home tools to actively open their brain’s natural medicine cabinet,” says Ms Fleming.


“Sometimes the behavioural and cognitive strategies we use can provide more effective anxiety management.”


“When you start working with someone who’s not able to get out of the house, and then you see them return to work, going to the supermarket, it’s so rewarding. Their confidence builds, and they can manage on their own. It’s very empowering.”


The event is being launched in support of the implementation of the Victorian Government’s real- time prescription monitoring system, SafeScript in late October.


Warrnambool and the Western Victoria region will be the first area to implement SafeScript later this year.



When: 22 August 2018, 5:00 – 7:30pm
Where: South West TAFE, Building B, Level 3 (Foyer), Enter via Timor St, Warrnambool 3280 RSVP: ScriptWise encourages community members to RSVP for the event here:


For more information, community members can contact Megan Newcomb at



For further information, high-resolution images, or interviews please contact: Lara Beissbarth,

m: 0425 872 744 / e:





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 theState

+ 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 in Western Victoria in October. SafeScript aims to reduce the growing harms, including deaths, from high-risk prescription medicines such as opioids and benzodiazepines.


For more information visit: poisons/safescript

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