Pharmacy Guild executive director has written to the editor of The Good Weekend to congratulate the magazine on its article, The Pain Killers.
The feature article, by Stephanie Wood, told the human stories of several people who have become addicted to opioids and benzodiazepines to manage chronic non-cancer pain.
It also discusses the mortality and morbidity associated with prescription drug misuse, citing figures from the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre from 2011 (the most recent year for which national figures are available) showing prescription opioids were responsible for about 70% of 617 accidental opioid deaths that year.
“Congratulations Stephanie Wood on a powerfully human portrayal of the opioid addiction crisis in Australia (The Pain Killers, 4 June),” Quilty wrote to the magazine.
“More Australians die from prescription drug overdoses than on our roads, yet governments continue to dither and pass the buck.
“Doctors and pharmacists struggle to deal with this epidemic every day as more than a dozen coroners’ reports calling for a national real time prescription monitoring system sit gathering dust.
“Treatment options like pain clinics are grossly under-funded to deal with the extent of the problem,” he wrote.
“With one-in-five Australians living with chronic pain, we need our politicians to stop turning a blind eye and get serious about tackling this deepening crisis.”