The National Rural Health Alliance is developing specialised information for people living in rural and remote areas ahead of the codeine upschedule
The resources are aimed at ensuring people living in these areas are aware of the change and how it may affect them.
Mark Diamond, CEO of the Alliance, says that people in rural and remote areas are more vulnerable to the potential negative impact of such changes, due to different levels of service access.
“Long distances, financial factors and lack of available services make it much more difficult for people living in rural and remote areas to access GPs, allied health professionals and specialists,” he says.
“For this reason, we are developing resources to ensure that the seven million people living in rural and remote areas know in advance about the changes and where to go for assistance if they feel they need it.”
The Alliance says the move to restrict the availability of medications containing codeine was unanimously agreed to by the TGA and is in line with changes introduced in many other parts of the world to reduce rates of opiate addiction and overdose.
Individuals and organisations in rural and remote Australia wishing to receive more information about the planned changes can visit www.ruralhealth.org.au/codeine to have their details added to the mailing list.
Alliance Member Bodies, including the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM), CRANAplus and the Rural Doctors’ Association of Australia (RDAA), plan to ensure that healthcare and allied health professionals in rural and remote areas are prepared for the change.
Funding for the initiative is provided by the Australian Government.