From ABC NEWS (Australia): “A nurse practitioner told Hannah she had been flagged multiple times by SafeScript, the state government’s real-time prescription monitoring system.
But neither her GP or pharmacist told her she was likely developing a strong dependency on the drug or did anything to help lower her rapidly rising dosage.
The SafeScript system cost $29.5 million to roll out in 2018 to track the use of specific medications, including opioid painkillers, benzodiazepines, and strong sleeping pills.
According to the government, SafeScript is a tool to help doctors and pharmacists access a patient’s prescription history for high-risk medications ‘to enable safer clinical decisions.’ It does not stop a doctor from prescribing medications.
But experts fear the system is failing to help people recover from addiction and pushing some towards the black market, because there is no way to know what happens to a person flagged by the program.
. . . ‘Being flagged should really only be one component of a multi-faceted response to a complex issue for people,’ [said Sione Crawford, chief executive of Harm Reduction Victoria].
‘And instead, we are seeing it being applied very bluntly and used either as a warning or a rejection towards people rather than an opportunity to be engaged.’”