Opioid Dependence-reliance on illegally obtained drugs such as heroin, legal drugs prescribed for pain, or other opioids obtained illegally-has been identified as a major health crisis in Australia.
People with opioid dependence can be supported and very well managed to reduce their dependence by local GPs. This has been the cornerstone of the community based approach in Victoria for many years.
Unfortunately, because of the numerous and increasingly complex demands on GPs, many view pharmacotherapy – the treatment of people with opioid dependence – to be outside their scope of practice.
Right now, high quality training is available to support GPs and pharmacists in providing pharmacotherapy services to people with opioid dependence. The training has been made possible through the RACGP in partnership with local pharmacotherapy networks established across Victoria.
The North West Melbourne Pharmacotherapy Network supports GPs to be paid to sit with an experienced pharmacotherapy trained GP to build their understanding, skills and competence in managing the needs of people with opioid dependence.
It’s anticipated that the need for local GPs to be trained and able to respond to their patients with opioid dependence is likely to increase this year and next following changes to the availability of codeine products and the introduction of real time prescription monitoring.
We encourage all GPs looking to provide holistic care to take on pharmacotherapy and take advantage of the mentoring opportunity by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org