Real-time monitoring of Schedule 8 medicines in Australia: evaluation is essential

Fiona L Shand, Gabrielle Campbell, Wayne Hall, Nicholas Lintzeris, Milton Cohen and Louisa Degenhardt
Med J Aust 2013; 198 (2): . || doi: 10.5694/mja12.10785
Published online: 4 February 2013

A real-time reporting system for controlled drugs may improve the safety of Schedule 8 medicines

Over the past decade, increased prescribing of pharmaceutical opioids in a number of countries has raised professional and public concern about iatrogenic opioid dependence and fatal opioid overdoses. Most fatal drug overdoses in the United States are now from opioids.1 Although not as high as in the US in absolute terms, the number of opioid prescriptions in Australia increased by around 300% between 1992 and 2007.2,3 This was accompanied by increased rates of injection of pharmaceutical opioids by people who regularly inject drugs,4 and professional concern about the appropriateness of prescribing these drugs for people with chronic non-cancer pain.

  • Fiona L Shand1
  • Gabrielle Campbell1
  • Wayne Hall2
  • Nicholas Lintzeris3
  • Milton Cohen4
  • Louisa Degenhardt1

  • 1 University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW.
  • 2 University of Queensland Centre for Clinical Research, Brisbane, QLD.
  • 3 Drug and Alcohol Services, South Eastern Sydney Local Health District, Sydney, NSW.
  • 4 St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney, NSW.


Competing interests:

Louisa Degenhardt and Nicholas Lintzeris have received an untied educational grant from Reckitt Benckiser to examine the extent of misuse, diversion and injection of buprenorphine–naloxone in Australia from 2006 to 2013. The design, conduct, interpretation and reporting of the postmarketing surveillance findings were determined by the study investigators, and the funder had no role in these. The funder had no role in the conception and writing of this paper.


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