The misuse of prescription medication is becoming a health emergency in Australia.
This week is Preventing Prescription Medication Misuse Week and aims to raise awareness to the public about this serious concern and how to get help.
In Victoria alone more people die due to prescription medication overdose than on the road.
Which medicines are to blame?
The two main medications: -💊Opioids are commonly use to manage pain, particularly after surgery and end of life care. it can also be used for severe short term painful conditions. Examples include, oxycodone, codeine and fentanyl. -💊Benzodiazepines are a sedative medication, this means they are often prescribed for sleep problems or anxiety. They include diazepam, temazepam and alprazolam. They also have a limited role for short term issues but are not useful for ongoing treatment.
Anyone can become addicted to these medications, particularly if they are using them regularly for a long time. The body will also develop a tolerance which means more is needed to get the same effect.
In a recent survey 90% of Australians could not identify warning signs of opiod dependance.
What are some of the signs and symptoms of abuse or addiction?
- regular or continuous use to cope.
- neglecting responsibilities
- dangerous or risky behaviour
- withdrawal symptoms e.g. craving
- loosing control of substance use
How to get help 🆘
It is important to recognise when your substance use has become a problem and seek medical advice from your General practitioner. There are also a number of great helplines:
📞 Lifeline 13 11 14
📞 Family Drug Support 1300 368 186
If you, a friend or a family member are concerned about addiction please come and see me in clinic for further advice and help.
Take care and stay healthy 😊
Dr Nora x
Information gathered from scriptwise.org.au