When will opioid agonist therapy become a normal part of comprehensive health care?

Pallavi Prathivadi and Elizabeth A Sturgiss
Med J Aust 2021; 214 (11): . || doi: 10.5694/mja2.51095
Published online: 21 June 2021

Opioid agonist therapy should be normalised as a routine part of opioid dependence treatment

Australia faces a pharmaceutical opioid crisis.1 Rates of prescribing, morbidity and mortality have dramatically increased since 1990.1 Fifty‐six percent of unintentional opioid deaths now involve pharmaceutical opioids (as either sole drug or polydrug overdose), compared with 45% of deaths involving heroin and 23% involving methadone.2 Despite this, methadone carries considerable stigma and misconceptions among clinicians and community members.3 The cost of private prescriptions, provider unfamiliarity with the medication and clinician reluctance to manage patients with illicit and prescription opioid use disorder are common barriers to opioid agonist therapy (OAT).3

  • Monash University, Melbourne, VIC

Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.


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