PSA21VIRTUAL: Tackling opioid dilemma

Pharmaceutical Society of Australia

A topic that has long been at the forefront of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia’s (PSA) efforts, is Australia’s management of prescription opioids and the importance of Real Time Prescription Monitoring (RTPM).

During this morning’s opening session at PSA21VIRTUAL, conference delegates heard from internationally renowned pharmacist, Dan Schneider.

Renowned for his Netflix docu-series, The Pharmacist, Dan Schneider spoke at PSA21VIRTUAL today. In 1999, Mr Schneider’s son, Danny, was murdered during a drug deal gone wrong in New Orleans. After a prolonged investigation spanning over a year and a half, Mr Schneider eventually received closure regarding the circumstances of his son’s death – unearthing Danny’s addiction to opioids in the process.

After he came to terms with Danny’s addiction, he then realised that there was a new addiction problem affecting his community of St. Bernard Parish – the opioid epidemic. Schneider then focused his efforts on curtailing the flow of opioids into his town.

PSA National President, A/Prof Chris Freeman, expressed his gratitude to Mr Schneider and recognised the importance of effectively managing prescription opioids in Australia.

“I would personally like to thank Mr Schneider for taking part in this year’s national conference, PSA21. Inappropriate opioid use is one of the biggest challenges facing Australian society, one that PSA has long-advocated to address.

“Deaths from prescription medicines have outpaced deaths from illicit drugs in Australia, therefore, a mechanism for effectively capturing and monitoring medicines that cause the greatest harm through overuse, misuse or non-medicinal use is required.

“As leaders of the medicine safety conversation, PSA fully supports the national implementation of RTPM systems to combat the inappropriate use of opioids.

“RTPM is a tool that can reduce inappropriate prescribing, prescription shopping, adverse events, multiple-prescribing events, fraudulent prescribing, and improve quality of care by facilitating a patient-centred approach.

“During the session, we were privileged to hear from Deputy Director of the Monash Addiction Research Centre, Associate Professor Suzanne Nielsen on advances in opioid-harm reduction and the role Australian pharmacists can play in reducing opioid-related harm,” A/Prof Freeman said.

Tomorrow, PSA21 delegates will also be able to hear from Associate Professor Nielsen on the role of pharmacists’ administration of buprenorphine – and on Sunday from Dr Jacinta Johnson on the use of Naloxone for opioid toxicity injection, two tangible examples of pharmacists taking leadership in reducing harm from opioids.

As the peak body representing pharmacists, PSA continues to work with governments to secure and support the roll-out of RTPM systems.

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