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Responding to Pharmaceutical Opioid-related Problems

¬†The resource¬†‚ÄėResponding to Pharmaceutical Opioid-related Problems‚Äô¬†¬†was created¬†to support prescribers who have patients with pharmaceutical opioid-related problems. The resource was developed in response to increasing levels of harm stemming from the use of these medicines and the challenges experienced by prescribers when responding to the needs of these patients.



The short resource concisely addresses several key issues related to pharmaceutical opioids including:

  • The extent and nature of, and problems associated with, pharmaceutical opioid use in Australia
  • Effective management of persistent non-cancer pain
  • Opioid tolerance, dependence and withdrawal¬†
  • Preparing medical practices for patients with prescribed opioid problems
  • Assessing and responding to patients with pharmaceutical opioid-related problems using pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical approaches
  • Assessing and responding to patients with codeine-related problems.

The resource was produced with support from Indivior Pty Ltd and input from the following clinicians: 

  • Dr Penny Briscoe: Director, Pain Management Unit, Royal Adelaide Hospital
  • Dr Nico Clark: Former Clinical Director, Drug and Alcohol Services SA
  • Dr Meredith Craigie: Pain Medicine Specialist, Royal Adelaide Hospital, Dean, Faculty of Pain Management, ANZCA
  • Associate Professor Suzanne Nielsen: Deputy Director, Monash Addiction Research Centre
  • Dr Tim Semple: Deputy Head, Pain Management Unit, Royal Adelaide Hospital.


Available in hard copy or USB


Pharmaceutical opioids in Australia: A double-edged sword

This literature review was undertaken by Roger Nicholas, Senior Project Manager, NCETA with assistance from HERA Partners. The review informed the development of a resource to support prescribers assist patients experiencing difficulties with their use of pharmaceutical opioids.

The review covers a number of key areas including: 

  • Changes in patterns of opioid use in Australia and internationally
  • Adverse effects of longer term opioid use
  • The role of opioids in the treatment of persistent non-cancer pain
  • Medico-legal issues related to opioid prescribing
  • Assessing and responding to patients with codeine and other pharmaceutical opioid-related problems.

 Pharmaceutical opioids in Australia: A double-edged sword.pdf