Alcohol should be monitored like drugs

Health Minister Tanya Plibersek announced last month that the Electronic Recording and Reporting of Controlled Drugs system developed by the Tasmanian government would be made available to doctors, pharmacists and state and territory health authorities across Australia from 1 July.

The $5 million system will monitor the prescribing and dispensing of addictive drugs in real time, allowing practitioners and administrators to immediately detect people suspected of trafficking in painkillers, forging prescriptions and ‘doctor-shopping’.

Health professionals will be able to access a centralised database over a secure computer network, which will contain prescription history records.

Alcohol and Other Drugs Council of Australia CEO David Templeman said the introduction of the monitoring system was to be applauded but could result in some people resorting to alcohol to self-medicate for pain relief.

“The answer could be to