Prescription and illicit drug use | Doctor waiting lists

Prescription and illicit drug use | Doctor waiting lists.

Thousands of West Australians have become addicted to dangerous prescription drugs while waiting to see a doctor, but a lag in illicit drug use statistics has left the escalating problem largely undetected, a scathing parliamentary inquiry has found.

General practitioners are concerned that about 22,000 West Australians are now addicted to opioids such as morphine and oxycodone, prescribed to them to manage chronic pain while they waited up to 12 months to see a specialist, the Education and Health Standing Committee said in an interim report tabled in parliament yesterday.

“The misuse of prescription opioids has become a significant problem within Western Australia and the number of people misusing them is now at a similar level to the number consuming heroin,” the report says.

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