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Thousands identified by new prescription monitoring system


Doug Hendrie


21/12/2018 1:24:30 PM

SafeScript has helped detect more than 3300 Victorian doctor-shoppers in its first two months.

Vic Health Minister Jenny Mikakos said SafeScript allows health professionals to discuss risks of using dangerous quantities of prescription medications (Image: Stefan Postles)
Vic Health Minister Jenny Mikakos said SafeScript allows health professionals to discuss risks of using dangerous quantities of prescription medications (Image: Stefan Postles)

Australian-first SafeScript was rolled out across more than 400 sites in western Victoria in October ahead of a state-wide launch in April.
 
SafeScript alerts doctors and pharmacists to the fact that the patient before them has visited multiple clinics or pharmacies seeking similar medications, meaning they are at high risk of harm or overdose.
 
The system is aimed at cutting the ballooning death toll from prescription medicine dependency, which has outstripped the road toll in Victoria since 2012.
 
Last year, 414 Victorians died due to prescription medicine overdoses, while 255 died on the state’s roads.
 
The Victorian Government introduced the program in part due to a campaign led by Margaret Millington from western Victoria, who lost her son to a prescription drug overdose in 2010.
 
SafeScript gives doctors, nurse practitioners and pharmacists access to real-time information on prescription histories, monitoring Schedule 8 medicines such as oxycodone, as well as other medications at risk of misuse such as codeine or diazepam.
 
State Health Minister Jenny Mikakos said SafeScript will allow health professionals to discuss the risks of using dangerous quantities of prescription medicine based on real-time information.
 
‘We said SafeScript would save lives and that’s exactly what this cutting-edge program is doing. Prescription drug dependency can happen to anyone and the consequences can be tragic,’ she said.
 
Many smaller towns in Australia have been disproportionately affected by prescription medicine dependency, with recent statistics showing illegal methamphetamine abuse is actually declining in rural areas, while fentanyl addiction is spiking.
 
Victoria opted out of a proposed national program and commissioned its own $30 million system from pharmacy software company Fred IT Group.
 
The same company has been awarded the contract to develop the national program, which was originally intended to launch by the end of 2018 but has been delayed.



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