Relevance to General Practice:
Evidence indicates that Medication Assisted Treatment for Opioid Dependence decreases opioid drug use, reduces illness and death from drug use, reduces criminal activity, reduces high risk needle sharing and enhances social responsibility and productivity.
Because of the special characteristics of this field of treatment, practice in Victoria to prescribe buprenorphine for more than 5 patients or methadone is limited to prescribers who have been adequately trained and approved by the Drugs and Poisons Regulation Group of the Department of Health and Human Services.
It has been estimated that on any given day in 2015, there were 44,522 people being treated with pharmacotherapy in Australia. In July 2015, there were around 14,122 patients receiving pharmacotherapy in Victoria (two-thirds on methadone and one-third on buprenorphine).
Ref 'Policy for Maintenance pharmacotherapy for Opioid Dependence' Published by Department of Health and Human Services, revised 2016.
- Outline the potential benefits and risks associated with opioid prescribing.
- Recognise, prevent and respond to problematic pharmaceutical opioid use.
- Identify the legal issues regarding the prescribing of buprenorphine and methadone.
- Implement safe and effective opioid and or methadone prescribing as part of a broader pain management plan.
- Safely and effectively prescribe buprenorphine and or methadone for opioid dependence.
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