Dou­ble stan­dard in codeine plans

Sunshine Coast Daily - - NEWS | OPINION - SOAP­BOX DAMIAN BATHERSBY damian.bathersby@sc­news.com.au

I CAN’T help feel­ing there is a fair bit of hypocrisy in­volved in the crack­down on avail­abil­ity of codeine-based painkillers.

From next Fe­bru­ary, you’ll only be able to buy prod­ucts such as Nuro­fen Plus, Panadeine and Co­dral if you have a pre­scrip­tion from your doc­tor. Which, in it­self, is fine. De­spite be­ing com­monly used to beat pain, codeine is ad­dic­tive – ex­actly the rea­son the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment is cit­ing for the crack­down.

And there’s the rub. Smok­ing is also ad­dic­tive. So why are crack­downs on the sup­ply of cig­a­rettes nowhere near as harsh?

Sure, they keep telling peo­ple smok­ing will kill them; put shock­ing pic­tures on the pack­ets; re­strict their vis­ual promi­nence in out­lets and tax them out of the strato­sphere but any­one of le­gal age can still buy them if they choose.

So why the dif­fer­ent set of rules for codeine prod­ucts, es­pe­cially when chemists al­ready have a tried-and-true method in place to keep track of ex­actly who’s buy­ing them.

You don’t see to­bac­conists en­ter­ing the names of their cus­tomers into a na­tional data­base as chemists al­ready do for the sale of codeine-based drugs.

And there’s an­other lit­tle gl­itch in the plan – doc­tors writ­ing out pre­scrip­tions for codeine prod­ucts won’t be re­quired to do any such thing, so it will be pos­si­ble for peo­ple to go from one doc­tor to the next in search of the drug.

Of course, chemists could al­ways main­tain their cur­rent data­base and ... whoops, I think we just went in a full cir­cle.

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