01 May ScriptWise Launches Annual Medication Dependence Prevention Month
MAY 1 2019
ScriptWise Launches Annual Medication Dependence Prevention Month
Today ScriptWise, in collaboration with Amcal Pharmacy, is proud to launch this year’s Medication Dependence Prevention Month (MDPM) with a simple call to all Australians: if you are prescribed an opioid or sedative medication, make a plan to stop with your health professional.
MDPM was initiated by ScriptWise in response to alarming statistics which indicate Australians are more likely to die from a prescription medication related overdose than on Australian roads.[i] Moreover, approximately 1.9 million Australian adults begin taking prescription opioids each year.[ii]
ScriptWise is teaming up with Amcal Pharmacy and local organisations across Australia to reach millions of people through a month full of educational and inspiring events aimed at preventing medication-related harms and community support.
This year’s theme is ‘Prevent misuse, plan to reduce’ and ScriptWise is encouraging people to get the conversation started by downloading a pain or sleep medication action plan via its insightful website portal: www.scriptwise.org.au/prevention-month.
“The opioid epidemic in the USA should be an example of why it is essential we focus our efforts on preventing harms from medications like opioids and benzodiazepines,” ScriptWise Chair, Dr Jennifer Stevens said.
“It is estimated that Australia is only five to six years behind the USA. If we don’t act quickly to reverse the trends we’re seeing here, we risk more and more people being affected.”
The campaign aims to ensure Australians understand that long-term use of opioid and benzodiazepine medication might mean getting even worse pain or having more trouble sleeping.
In response to the concerning data, Amcal Pharmacy could not think of a better initiative to support and is thrilled to be partnering with a like-minded organisation that shares the same values in putting professional healthcare within the reach of every Australian.
“Pain can be a debilitating and isolating condition which family and friends might not be able to see. We know that pain is highly personalised and it’s important to get the right treatment for your needs,” Chairman of the Amcal & Guardian National Council, Marc Clavin said.
“Amcal Pharmacy believes healthcare works best when it’s trusted, available and collaborative and our partnership with ScriptWise aims to ensure Australians understand the impact of long-term use of opioid and benzodiazepine medication.
“We want to encourage Australians to ask their Amcal pharmacist about a free personalised pain management plan and find the best solution for them,” Mr Clavin added.
Evidence shows that as little as five days on opioid medications increases the likelihood of experiencing side-effects like medication tolerance, dependence and addiction.[iii]
This year’s MDPM will cover three stages addressing situations when people are likely to be prescribed opioid medications and include:
+ after a severe injury,
+ if they are having trouble sleeping,
+ and when they are discharged from hospital following surgery.
For further information, high-resolution images, or interviews, please contact
Lara Beissbarth m: 0425 872 744 / firstname.lastname@example.org
For all Amcal media enquiries please contact Emma Kneubuhler – (0)431 869 582
[i] There were 1,447 prescription medication fatalities in the categories of ‘benzodiazepines’, ‘other opioids’ and ‘other synthetic narcotics’ in 2016 according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, ‘3303.0 – Causes of Death, Australia, 2016’. Accessed 4 July 2016 http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/by%20Subject/3303.0~2016~Main%20Features~Drug%20Induced%20Deaths%20in%20Australia~6. In comparison, there were 1,295 total road fatalities in 2016 according to the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development, ‘Road trauma Australia 2016 statistical summary’. Accessed 4 July 2016 bitre.gov.au/publications/ongoing/files/Road_Trauma_Australia_2016_rev.pdf
[ii] Monash University, ‘Opioid epidemic has reached Australia: study’. Accessed March 2019: https://www.monash.edu/news/articles/opioid-epidemic-has-reached-australia-study
[iii] Shah, A., Hayes, C. J., and Martin, B., ‘Characteristics of Initial Prescription Episodes and Likelihood of Long-Term Opioid Use – United States, 2006-2015’, Weekly, March 17 2017. Accessed March 2019: https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/66/wr/mm6610a1.htm#F1_down