Prescribers need to be equipped with tools to deliver best-practice pain medicine, which should be part of core training and Continuing Professional Development, and consumers need the knowledge to seek out the best pain management options for their individual situation.
“Issues of opioid reliance and misuse in relation to pain are complex and can only be resolved when the wider problem of inadequate access to best-practice pain management is addressed,” says Painaustralia CEO Carol Bennett.
“There is a particular need to provide rural communities with improved pain services and this should be a priority area. Our 2018-19 Pre-Budget Submission outlines options to facilitate this.”
Despite opioids being generally ineffective for treating chronic non-cancer pain, with potential for over-reliance and addiction, they are prescribed by GPs in more than 7 in 10 cases of multisite pain management in Australia.
The latest general practice data on opioid prescribing found rates have increased significantly in recent years, jumping from 3.8 per 100 encounters in 2000-01 to 5.6 per 100 in 2010-11.
People who do use opioids for their long-term pain condition can experience judgement from the community and medical practitioners, and we believe any opioid response should include actions that would help remove this stigma.
“When it comes to opioids for chronic pain, we need to strike a balance between safety and quality of life considerations,” says Ms Bennett.