Prescription medication dependence can happen to anyone.
In efforts to reduce prescription medication related harm, Pharmacy 777 announced its support for ScriptWise’s inaugural National Prevention of Prescription Medication Dependence Week (May 14-18).
In 2016, prescription medication related deaths accounted for approximately 68 percent of drug deaths (172 of 252) in W.A; more than double that of a decade ago (83).
Christine Campbell is no stranger to the devastation prescription medication overdose can cause, having lost her 28-year-old son Benjamin to an accidental fentanyl overdose in 2015.
“Benjamin was a proud and loving father to two girls. However, his addiction to prescription drugs resulted in him being separated from his little girls who he will now not see grow to become adults,” said Christine.
“Growing up he was a respected player in football and baseball and he participated in bmx competitive racing and skateboarding. He had sport and school mates who he stayed strong friends with to the day he passed away.”
“But when he went to high school he simply didn’t settle. He was damn hard to live with sometimes. We visited psychiatrists, counsellors, doctors and specialists seeking help and eventually saw a doctor who prescribed him Valium. He was 15.”
“Towards the end, Benjamin was consuming up to 50 Valium tablets a day and as many as 20 in one intake,” she said.
Pharmacy 777 Managing Director Kim Brotherson says that a coordinated approach by doctors and pharmacists is essential to treat those who unintentionally become dependent on medication.
“It’s really important that both pharmacists and GPs inform their patients about the role their medication has in their treatment and how to use it safely,” said Mr Brotherson
“Too often we see patients who continue to use medications such as benzodiazepines for far longer than is recommended. This means the medication is not only less effective but can also pose serious health risks, including developing dependency.”
“We’re proud to be part of Prevention Week because pharmacists play such an important role in ensuring the quality use of medicines,” he said.
Christine agrees that more public education is needed and, after Benjamin’s death, joined ScriptWise’s board to help prevent other families from experiencing a similarly tragic loss.
“Prescription medication dependence can happen to anyone in our communities. If you think you might need help, reach out to your GP or pharmacist,” said Christine.
Pharmacy 777 encourages the community to talk to their Doctor or Pharmacist for a professional medication review consultation.