New findings released reveal opioid use has tripled from 11 percent pre-injury to 33 per cent during the 18 months post-injury, according to a study that examined PBS medication use by 700 people injured on Victorian roads between 2010 and 2012.

The Monash University Injury Research Institute of Melbourne study showed Oxycodone was the most commonly prescribed drug with Benzodiazepine also increasing in use. The call for GPs to oversee the prescribing of opioids comes as crash victims on average saw four different doctors that meant users were susceptible to prolonged opioid use.

In Victoria alone, general findings from Coroner’s office in 2014 showed prescription drugs, including benzodiazepines contributed to more deaths than illicit drugs or alcohol.

While opioid dependence affects 1 percent of the Australian adult population, Medicine Today associated opioid dependence with a range of biological, psychological and social harms to the individual and wider community.

Seeking treatment often begins with withdrawal approaches, with a move to long-term treatments such as opioid substitution involving daily dosing, to prevent withdrawal and cravings, or psychosocial interventions involving counselling approaches.

Ongoing health industry advocacy and Government regulation will help ensure patients are visiting one doctor, allowing for a thorough understanding of the patient’s health-related history, and the fostering of a relationship based on mutual trust.