A real time prescription monitoring system is on the works in Victoria, with the aim of stopping or at least reducing the number of people who die of prescription drug overdose deaths, says an article by Richard Willingham for The Age.
System to stop “prescription shopping”
With the $30-million real-time prescription monitoring system, doctors and pharmacists in Victoria will be able to identify people who feed their prescription drug addiction by collecting multiple prescriptions from different doctors and chemists. The system is expected to be set up for 1900 GP clinics, 1300 pharmacies and 200 hospitals in Victoria by 2018.
According to Victoria’s Health Minister Jill Hennessy, the upcoming real time prescription monitoring system can potentially prevent the deaths of up to 90 Victorians over the next five years. She is also optimistic that the system will also help decrease by more than 500 the number of people rushed to hospitals with overdoses every year.
Read the article in full here.
Real-time prescription monitoring – An idea whose time has come
With all the focus on hard drugs like ice, people often forget that prescription drug abuse is so much worse. And the Victorian government, with its real time prescription monitoring initiative, is completely aware of that fact. As Willingham pointed out in his report, 330 Victorians died from prescription drug overdoses in 2015, a figure that is higher than the number of people killed in road accidents. That is a lot of preventable deaths. We could only hope that this upcoming prescription monitoring system in Victoria works. If it does, we also hope other states in Australia follow suit.
Then again, this new system will only cover legally prescribed medications. There are a lot of prescription medications that can be purchased on the Internet, all without a prescription. Hopefully, in the future, the government can also find a way to monitor and stop websites that illegally sell prescription medication online.