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April 25, 2016

Victoria introduces real-time prescription drug monitoring system

The Government of Victoria in Australia has introduced a real-time prescription monitoring system to reduce the number of the residents dying from prescription drug overdoses.

By Srijanee Chakraborthy

Prescription drug

The Government of Victoria in Australia has introduced a real-time prescription monitoring system to reduce the number of the residents dying from prescription drug overdoses.

The prescription monitoring system is said to be able to save up to 90 lives in Victoria over the next five years.

Prescription overdoses result from people indulging in ‘prescription shopping’ from multiple doctors and pharmacies. The centralised monitoring system can detect the habit.

Victoria Mental Health Minister Martin Foley said: "This will help us identify people misusing prescription drugs earlier, so they can get the support and treatment they need to beat their addiction."

The real-time monitoring system will enable 1,900 GP clinics, 1,300 pharmacies and 200 hospitals to identify and check prescription drug seekers before their addiction endangers their lives, by conducting an on-the-spot check before prescribing or giving away medicine that is prone to misuse.

"This will help us identify people misusing prescription drugs earlier, so they can get the support and treatment they need to beat their addiction."

Since 2012, 21 coronial findings had insisted on adopting the real-time prescription monitoring system.

The government will invest close to $30m in this year’s fiscal budget to introduce the monitoring software, provide additional counselling and addiction treatment services, as well as offer training and support for doctors and pharmacists to determine and help prescription drug misusers at an initial stage.

The new scheme is expected to reduce the number of people admitted to the emergency department due to overdose to 500 every year, and 700 people a year referred to counselling to overcome addiction.

The project will feature Schedule 8 medicines such as morphine and oxycodone at a minimum, the government will consult with professional medical and pharmacy groups to determine the best way to include other high-risk medicines such as diazepam.


Image: Prescription pills. Photo: courtesy of en:User:Sponge.

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