The impact of Victoria's real time prescription monitoring system (SafeScript) on a cohort of people who inject drugs

Dagnachew M Fetene, Peter Higgs, Suzanne Nielsen, Filip Djordjevic and Paul Dietze
Med J Aust 2020; 213 (3): . || doi: 10.5694/mja2.50659
Published online: 22 June 2020

To the Editor: Harms related to the inappropriate use of prescription drugs include fatal and non‐fatal overdose and are a significant public health concern in Australia.1 In response, Victoria recently introduced SafeScript (​cript) — a system similar to the widely implemented real time prescription monitoring (RTPM) systems in the United States.2 The Victorian RTPM system is designed to help health professionals make safer decisions when supplying high risk medicines.3

  • 1 Burnet Institute, Melbourne, VIC
  • 2 La Trobe University, Melbourne, VIC
  • 3 Monash Addiction Research Centre, Monash University, Melbourne, VIC
  • 4 Monash University, Melbourne, VIC


We thank all participants who took part in this study, the field team and the support of the Victorian Operational Infrastructure Support Program received by the Burnet Institute. The study was approved by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services (project No. 28/13). The study is funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC Grant No. 1126090).

Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.

  • 1. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Alcohol, tobacco and other drugs in Australia. Canberra: AIHW, 2019. (viewed Dec 2019).
  • 2. Fink DS, Schleimer JP, Sarvet A, et al. Association between prescription drug monitoring programs and nonfatal and fatal drug overdoses: a systematic review. Ann Internal Med 2018; 168: 783–790.
  • 3. Medicines Optimisation Service. Evidence to inform the inclusion of additional Schedule 4 prescription medications on the Victorian real‐time prescription monitoring system: an updated report. Austin Health, 2019. (viewed Feb 2020).
  • 4. Powell D, Alpert A, Pacula RL. A transitioning epidemic: how the opioid crisis is driving the rise in hepatitis C. Health Affairs (Millwood) 2019; 38: 287–294.
  • 5. Chen Q, Larochelle MR, Weaver DT, et al. Prevention of prescription opioid misuse and projected overdose deaths in the United States. JAMA Netw Open 2019; 2: e187621.


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