The Conversation Hour interview with Dan Lubman: Opioid addiction in Victoria
Dan Lubman, Executive Director of Turning Point, and Associate Professor Suzanne Nielsen from the Monash Addiction Research Centre, were guest speakers on ABC radio show, The Conversation Hour to discuss the important topic of opioid addiction and an over-reliance on prescription medication to treat chronic pain.
The challenge, Dan said, is to balance the many benefits of short term prescription drug use to treat acute pain, with ensuring patients don’t continue to rely on those highly addictive drugs long term.
Education around the dangers of long term opioid use is the key for both patients and clinicians.
“Because of the general lack of expertise with addiction and pain, people often don’t know what to do,’” Dan said. “And the treatment of pain and the speciality of pain medicine is fairly new, so these are incredibly important conversations we need to have.”
Given 3.2million Australians suffer with chronic pain, it was no surprise when the switchboard lit up, with story after story of people who had suffered an injury or illness at some point and are now battling serious opioid addiction.
SafeScript was rolled out last year and is one step of many to try and reduce over-prescribing. It is a real-time prescription monitoring system, notifying prescribing doctors and pharmacists when a patient has previously been prescribed a high-risk drug.