Call to introduce real-time prescription monitoring

Figures released by the Coroners Court of Victoria show prescription pharmaceuticals contributed to 82.3% of the 176 deaths due to drug overdose from January to June.

Benzodiazepines overtook opioids as the most prevalent contributor (58%) to death, with diazepam contributing to more deaths (84) than heroin (67) for the second year.

Alcohol was contributor to 30% of the deaths compared to 21% for 2102, while codeine contributed to one in four deaths.

Sam Biondo, executive officer at the Victorian Alcohol and Drug Association (VAADA), said the 2013 drug death rate was on track to match previous years.

“The government must introduce a real-time prescription monitoring system to reduce the harms associated with pharmaceutical misuse,” he said. 

“Disturbingly, even though there is a general sense of less heroin use over the past decade, injecting substance use is still prevalent, with a history of injecting