Prescription drugs misused
Childers police, health professionals tackle oxycodone abuse in community
A GROUP of dedicated community members is working together to tackle the misuse and illegal use of prescription medication in the Childers community.
At a forum on Monday night, representatives from the Queensland Ambulance Service, Childers Police, doctors and hospital staff as well as chemists and pharmacy staff met to discuss the best way to address a growing problem affecting the whole community.
Childers Police Senior Constable Donna Gilliland said the group was initially set up in 2011, but tragically a number of recent deaths linked to pain medication had brought the issue to the forefront.
Snr Const Gilliland said the drug causing the most concern was oxycodone, a morphine-based painkiller typically prescribed to manage acute, chronic and cancer-related pain – and also dubbed “hillbilly heroin”.
“We’ve had instances of used needles being left in the Isis Club and public toilets,” she said.
“We’re seeing increases in the onselling of this drug for illegal use.”
Snr Const Gilliland said a small community such as Childers had the ability to work together and keep the lines of communication open between relevant parties to address the issue.
“By sharing information, the police are alerted to how the drugs are being used,” she said.
“The QAS and hospital staff also know that we will charge offenders for illegal use.”
Snr Const said illegal onselling, and illegal use and misuse, had knock-on effects that put the community at risk.
“We see driving offences with people under the influence and an increase in crime and break-ins,” she said.
Snr Const Gilliland said the practice of “doctor shopping” could also be addressed if everyone was communicating.
“Doctor shopping is where people go from one doctor to the other, getting scripts written from each doctor,” she said.
Snr Const Gilliland said the public would start to see signs around the town informing the community about what the group was doing and urging anyone legally using oxycodone to seek support and ask about alternative treatment if they felt their use of the prescription painkiller was out of control.
OVERUSE: Members of the Childers community are coming together to address the misuse and illegal use of prescription drugs such as oxycodone.