New opioid restrictions now in place

Several changes to the regulation of opioid supply in Australia come into effect today (June 1).

Opioids are strong medicines used for pain. The new rules – including reducing pack sizes and restrictions around prescribing – are part of a range of changes planned for prescription opioid medicines to be phased in over the next year or so.

This comes in response to the to the growing number of deaths involving opioids in Australia. From 2007 to 2016, opioid-related deaths nearly doubled – from 591 to 1,119 deaths per year.

Notably, most of these deaths involve prescription opioids used for pain, rather than illicit opioids like heroin.

What are the changes?

These changes will affect the quantity of opioids provided for short-term pain, limiting amounts to a single supply with a smaller quantity for each prescription. For example, smaller packs may contain 10 tablets rather than 20.

People requiring an additional supply for short-term pain will generally need to visit the doctor again (as opposed to ...

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