Preventing dependence

Howard Springs Amcal Pharmacy. Courtesy Rebecca Race.

Amcal and ScriptWise have teamed up to educate the public about opioid and benzodiazepine medications

May is Medication Dependence Prevention Month, an awareness campaign undertaken by the non-profit ScriptWise.

Along with Amcal, it aims to ensure that Australians understand that long-term use of opioid and benzodiazepine medicines could result in worse pain or more difficulty sleeping.

Amcal came on board, it says, after witnessing the effects of the low-dose codeine upscheduling in February 2018, and wanting to support a like-minded organisation.

The two are highlighting that Australians are more likely to die from a prescription medicine-related overdose than in a motor vehicle accident; and that around 1.9 million Australian adults begin taking prescription opioids each year from 2013 to 2017.

“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,” said Chairman of the Amcal and Guardian National Council, Marc Clavin.

“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 said.

Meanwhile Dr Jennifer Stevens, ScriptWise chair, said that “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”.

“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.”

This year’s theme ‘Prevent misuse, plan to reduce’ encourages Australians and endeavours to provide them with practical tools for effective changes such as a downloadable action plan from ScriptWise or Amcal Pharmacy’s free in-pharmacy personalised Pain Management Plan.

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