Call for incentive to tackle opioid 'epidemic'

Prescriptions for oxycodone increased by more than 150% in a five-year period up to 2008, with an estimated 1300 Australians aged 15–54 dying from accidental opioid induced deaths in 2009–10, research shows.

Leading specialists accept that GPs are caught between patients demanding effective pain relief and policymakers calling for a reduction in prescription opiates.

Dr Alex Wodak, addiction specialist at St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney, believes that the lead should come from the RACGP through simple and accessible guidelines on the management of chronic non-malignant pain.

“GPs

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