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Liberals Have a $7 million Prescription to Halt Drug Abuse and ‘Doctor Shopping’ in SA

A $7 million policy to curb the growing abuse of prescription drugs by South Australians has been unveiled by Liberal leader Steven Marshall, who believes the implementation of real-time monitoring of scripts and patients will help reduce deaths and addiction.

Mr Marshall said the current system made it too easy for patients to game the system by “shopping’’ around multiple doctors and pharmacies for prescription drugs.

“Too many people are dying, too many lives are being damaged by the abuse of powerful drugs,’’ he said.

“Some of these drugs are being used by the individuals who are obtaining them and others are being trafficked on the black market.’’

A report last year by Melbourne’s Penington Institute found between 2011 and 2015, 184 South Australians had died from an accidental overdose of oxycodone, morphine or codeine. In the four years to 2005 that number was 127, a 45 per cent jump.

Real-time prescription monitoring will provide both doctors and pharmacists with an instant alert if a patient has received multiple supplies of prescription-only medicines, as well as a history of their dispensing record.

Premier Jay Weatherill said his government was considering the issue and agreed with Mr Marshall that it was a problem that needed to be addressed, but would not outline Labor’s policy.

“The question of making sure that prescription drugs are not abused and having some technological response to ensure that does not happen is a good idea and we will have our own proposition that we are advancing,’’ he said.

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