AS OF February 1, 2018, all medicines containing codeine will be available only by prescription.
Due to the health risks associated with medicines that contain codeine, the Therapeutic Goods Administration has re-scheduled codeine, which will change the way these medications are available to consumers.
Codeine is an opioid and, like morphine, is derived from poppies.
Most Australians are unaware that codeine is associated with health risks such as developing tolerances and physical dependence.
It also provides little benefit when compared to medicines without codeine.
According to Painaustralia, the latest research data shows that strong pain-relieving medications are prescribed to three out of four patients with chronic pain.
More than 100 people die each year in Australia due to codeine overdoses.
That is, on average, two deaths per week.
More than one-in-three codeine-related deaths involved someone with chronic pain.
Yet we know that while opioids are very effective for short-term management of acute pain, post-surgical pain and cancer pain, opioids do not manage chronic pain well.
Pharmacists can advise on other suitable over-the-counter treatments for acute short-term pain relief.
If pain is more severe or longer-lasting, a visit to the GP or other healthcare provider such as a nurse practitioner or physiotherapist can help to identify the cause of the pain and ways to better self-manage the pain.
There is a huge demand for chronic pain management which goes unmet.
What we need is national leadership in this area that will drive the agenda for better access to support for patients living with chronic pain.
As an alternative to strong pain medication, multidisciplinary supports can be quite effective in providing assistance for people living with chronic pain.
People seeking more information on self-management of chronic pain can visit www.painaustralia.org.au.
A petition addressed to Minister for Health and Sport Greg Hunt can be accessed on the website which calls for better services and support for Australians living with chronic pain.
Division 8 candidate
WHEN I first moved to Bundaberg from Brisbane more than 10 years ago, one of the most pleasing things to the eye was the absolute and total absence of graffiti.
Regardless of what the arty population's viewpoint is, the fact remains that - without the property owner's consent - it is an extreme form of vandalism.
In very recent times the incidence of graffiti has exploded in our city, under the Tallon bridge, the old Western Suburbs Leagues club and not forgetting the Barolin St facing wall of the new cancer-treatment building, to name but a few places.
These eyesores are downgrading our lovely city while we are all trying to improve its image so that it becomes an attractive place to live, work and invest.
For many years I have the belief that the only real way to stop graffiti is to ban the sale of pressure-pack paint or, at the very least, if that proves too hard, make the manufacturers of the product introduce a water-soluble product that never sets and/or, to hit the import of it with a massive tariff that is used to clean up the mess.
Why don't governments around the world combine their efforts and do this or at the very least get our governments, state and federal, to ban the pressure-pack sales.
For some reason this is too hard so we put up with the eye pollution and spend millions of dollars cleaning the mess on public infrastructure, let alone the millions that private property owners spend on restoration of their properties.
The lack of government activity in banning the sales of the product educates one to believe that either they don't care or have some form of hidden agenda.
Some activity in this area by our elected politicians both state and federal would be beneficial. Bundaberg Regional Council pushing this barrow would also be a wise move as the saving to ratepayers would be considerable.
Of course, make the courts punish charged offenders severely, both physically and financially.