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Today's drug summit must have tangible outcomes - prescribing drug overdose fatalities higher than road toll

9 April 2014

More than 90 representatives from Victoria’s health sector are attending today’s Victorian Pharmaceutical Misuse Summit, convened by the Department of Health.

"More Victorians die from prescription overdoses each year than the state's road toll. This Pharmaceutical Misuse Summit will bring together a range of voices to speak about the misuse of medications and what needs to be done in Victoria to help reduce these terrible addictions,” AMA Victoria President, Dr Stephen Parnis, said today.

“This summit will provide an opportunity to discuss ways that the government, supported by the community, can reduce the forgery, dependency, misuse, abuse and "doctor shopping" which is leading to such a high rate of pharmaceutical-related fatalities,” President of AMA Victoria, Dr Stephen Parnis, said.

AMA Victoria is a key advisory group in today’s Summit, alongside the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia, Pharmacy Guild of Victoria, Turning Point Alcohol & Drug Centre, and the Victorian Alcohol and Drug Association (VAADA).

The Victorian Coroners Court has confirmed that in 2012, 304 Victorians died from prescription drug overdose, compared with the state’s road toll of 282. While in the first half of 2013, 176 Victorians died from drug overdoses, 82 per cent were the result of prescription drugs.

AMA Victoria’s 2014-15 budget submission to the Victorian Government recommends $55 million is funded towards prioritising the harms of pharmaceutical misuse and to introduce a real-time prescription monitoring system - such as the successful system in place in Tasmania.

“Addiction can destroy families, friendships and jobs – and too many lives are affected by pharmaceutical addiction and misuse.

“We hope that this Summit has tangible outcomes and will lead to real and lasting change,” Dr Parnis said.

WATCH this
video of AMA Victoria’s Stephen Parnis, Turning Point’s Prof. Dan Lubman, and two families that have been affected by pharmaceutical misuse, which led to overdose.

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