This week’s Insight episode is hosted by Anton Enus.
It looks at what happens when medicine becomes the problem.
Prescriptions for some pain-killers and anti-anxiety medications have jumped alarmingly over the past decade, particularly for the drugs Oxycontin and Xanax.
The medications are very effective. Scores of people use them successfully to alleviate excruciating pain after a car accident, or to dampen crippling feelings of anxiety and panic.
But more and more patients are finding themselves addicted to these drugs, even when they follow the doctor’s instructions to the letter.
Insight asks where the blame lies and whether the drugs are simply too powerful for patients to administer themselves. The program discusses whether doctors are over prescribing, or whether patients are at fault for putting too much pressure on GPs to let them walk away with a cure-all pill.
Some suggest there is too much complexity and too little coordination in our health system, leading to patients falling through the cracks. The Federal Government has committed $5million to set up so-called ‘real-time monitoring’ which could address some flaws in the current system, such as the ability of patients to “doctor shop” to obtain addictive medications. But there’s confusion amongst the medicos and the various state governments as to when the system will actually be rolled out.
In this Insight episode, accidental addicts bravely take to the stage to tell their stories in front of a room full of doctors and pain experts.
Tuesday at 8.30pm on SBS ONE.