New guide a 'turning point' in discharging patients on opioids

The drugs should only be used for severe pain and hospital patients must be given a tapering plan, say the ACSQHC's standards

Doctors will be expected to avoid prescribing opiates for many ED and surgical patients, under landmark new standards released on Wednesday.

Developed by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (ACSQHC), the standards encourage the use of simple analgesics such as paracetamol and NSAIDs for mild-to-moderate pain.

Non-medication therapies should also be considered, they state.

While the “judicious” use of opioids is appropriate for severe pain, the standards require doctors to develop a plan for