Prescription drug dependence

A growing section of the population is becoming hooked on over-the-counter and prescription drugs.

Prescription drug dependence

Substance abuse in Australia is changing. No longer are drug addicts just hooked on illicit substances, struggling financially and socially. Research published in the Australian Prescriber shows that a section of the population is becoming hooked on over-the-counter and prescription drugs.

These people do not necessarily fit the drug user stereotype. The report shows they may be more highly functioning, have higher socioeconomic status and better education than the average drug user in previous decades. They may, the study found, simply be lonely, or have a history of depression or mental illness, and be using the drugs to feel better in their day-to-day lives.

In the late 1990s, heroin was the main cause of hospitalisation due to overdose on opioid drugs. By 2008, prescription opioids accounted for 80 per cent of those admissions. In Victoria, the number of deaths caused by drug overdose involving prescription drugs now exceeds the road trauma death toll.

You can read the full article at the Australian Prescriber website.

If you are concerned that you or someone you know may not be using over-the-counter or prescription drugs as intended, you can seek advice directly from your local pharmacist or GP. Or it may be easier to simply call your state or territory drug and alcohol counselling service, many of which operate 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week.

State/Territory alcohol and drugs telephone counselling and referral services

DirectLine: 1800 888 236

New South Wales
Alcohol and Drug Information Service (ADIS)
Sydney: 02 9361 8000
Regional NSW: 1800 422 599

Alcohol and Drug Information Service (ADIS)
1800 177 833

Western Australia
Alcohol and Drug Information Service (ADIS)
Perth: 08 9442 5000
Regional WA: 1800 198 024

South Australia
Alcohol and Drug Information Service (ADIS)
1300 131 340

Australian Capital Territory
ACT Health Services: Alcohol & Other Drugs
02 6207 9977

Alcohol and Drug Information Service (ADIS)
1800 811 994

Northern Territory
Alcohol and Drug Information Service (ADIS)
1800 131 350


    To make a comment, please register or login
    30th Jun 2014
    The picture up the top there looks like most of My neighbours Back Yards ??
    30th Jun 2014
    Pharmy companies are loving it, racking in billions,and doctors are to blame also for giving out medication so easily, my mum is forever telling her doctor she doesn't want any pills everytime she goes she is offered something. I just don't go. And my brother has been addicted to medication since he gave up illicit drugs. They all sell it to each other so there is a backyard industry too. Before taking anything I suggest you do your research.
    1st Jul 2014
    What is a Doctor and or Patient to do when the physical pain of the Patient is so severe, unable to be treated by surgery/physiotherapy or other means? Unfortunately, pain relief is paramount to the patient and the Doctor does not wish to impose sanctions on prescriptions which will only increase the pain/stress (caused by pain) on the patient! Up until recently, I had 15 years of ever increasing pain and immobility! I was prescribed three (3) types of opoid medication in ever increasing strength to no avail! Surgery in my situation would most likely have led to double amputation! This would have only worsened my plight! I have since undertaken a non surgical procedure referred by gp to specialist and one morning I woke pain free and just stopped all pain relief! The gp when I told him was amazed I had suffered no "withdrawal" symptons! At the time I had not even considered "withdrawal symptons! I was just "over the moon" at not having any pain for the first time in 15 years! Not one of us, can sit in judgement of another who is in severe debilitating, depressing, constant pain and decide what they should or should not be prescribed! By the way, the pain relief did not alleviate the pain, only took "the edge off"!!! I am ecstatic to be learning to walk again and be pain free!! I need 6 less scripts a month now!!! Whoo hoo!!!
    20th Aug 2018
    What absolute joy you must have experienced and still be experiencing and I rejoice with you.

    PLEASE please can you share the name of this procedure with us. I have had really severe chronic pain for years and have tried so many different treatments and painkillers to no avail.
    20th Aug 2018
    Hello Maggie!
    Research Genicular radio frequency nerve ablation, it is also referred to as rhizotomy. Performed under a local, ct scan to get accurate nerves, then treated and all over within 10 minutes. Can last 6 - 12 months and be repeated. I have had this on both knees and spine!
    Hope this helps you!
    8th Nov 2014
    To Musicveg couldn't agree more about Big Pharmacy loving it the dependance that they create a side effect of the drugs yjay is built in sorry but anybody who thinks the can get off the rubbish once they are on is a bigger fool than me cause I don't take any of the rubbish - as my Doctor is learning - I started with Statins then pain killers = after a broken back - yes & I looked around hard & found some tablets that I get from America at a cost due to postage & the fact that I am a pensioner the capsules are not availabke on prescription because Doctors cannot prescribe Natural Products the Drug Companies would not make anything out of them. OH dear! How sad!!!
    20th Aug 2018
    Please share the name of these capsules with us. They might help many people.

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