Prevention of Prescription Medication Dependence Tools and Resources

Prescription medications are responsible for approximately 70 per cent of accidental drug-related deaths – claiming more Australian lives than illicit drugs (ScriptWise).

ReturnToWorkSA is supporting workers, employers and providers to help prevent the risks and potential harms associated with the ongoing use of opioids and drugs of dependency for pain management by providing a number of tools and resources.

What is prescription medication dependence?

Prescription medication dependence can happen to anyone and sometimes without their knowledge. The body can develop a tolerance which lessens the medication’s effectiveness and means more and more is needed to get the same effect.

People who become dependent on medications can also then lose control over their medication use. Often this is despite their desire to cut down or stop altogether. This is the chronic relapsing and remitting disease called addiction.

Common opioid medications include:

  • Oxycodone (eg OxyContin, Endone, Targin)
  • Codeine (eg Panadeine Forte, Nurofen Plus)
  • Fentanyl (eg Durogesic, Fentanyl Sandoz Patches)

What are the risks of opioid pain medications?

The side effects of opioids can include:

  • sedation
  • tolerance and addiction
  • nausea, vomiting and constipation
  • respiratory depression and sleep apnoea
  • dry mouth and teeth decay
  • sexual dysfunction
  • accidental overdose or death.

If you'd like to learn more about prescription medication dependence, you can access information, tools and resources for:

National Prevention of Prescription Medication Dependence Week is a ScriptWise initiative.

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