Pre­scrip­tion drugs mis­used

Childers po­lice, health pro­fes­sion­als tackle oxy­codone abuse in com­mu­nity

Isis Town and Country - - News - By CAROLYN ARCHER carolyn.archer@news-mail.com.au

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.

PHOTO: THINKSTOCK

OVERUSE: Mem­bers of the Childers com­mu­nity are com­ing to­gether to ad­dress the mis­use and il­le­gal use of pre­scrip­tion drugs such as oxy­codone.

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