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Mark Gertskis

The growing misuse of powerful prescription opioids has prompted calls for the approach of managing chronic pain to be reconsidered.

Dr Penelope Briscoe, Dean of the Faculty of Pain Medicine at Australia and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists (ANZCA), said Australia was heading towards the situation in the United States, where more people were abusing prescription drugs than cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens, ecstasy and inhalants combined.

She said there was anecdotal evidence emerging of the growing abuse of strong opioids such as morphine and OxyContin (oxycodone), despite a lack of a comprehensive study.

“It’s really hard to know and that is something that we should be looking at,” Dr Briscoe told Pharmacy News.

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