Painkiller misuse a danger in the face of drug abuse
While we’ve all heard about the ice ‘epidemic’ that’s gripping Australia, an opioid addiction crisis has been creeping up on regional Australia, predominantly through the misuse of the prescription painkiller fentanyl. Fentanyl is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine and in Australia about 20 000 doses are prescribed for every 1 million people. A fentanyl overdose killed Prince in 2016 and President Trump has now declared the opioid crisis in the United States as a ‘national emergency.’
The National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre at the University of NSW has found that prescription painkillers like fentanyl now make up 70% of accidental opioid deaths, as compared to just 30% from heroin. Senior Researcher Amanda Roxburgh joined us to chat about this research this morning.