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Tasmanian Review of Opioid Prescribing

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Date Commenced:
Expected Date of Completion:
Project Supporters:

Tasmanian Dept of Health and Human Services

Drug Type:
Project Members: 
image - Richard Mattick
Honorary Professor
Ph 02 9385 0333
Associate Professor Fiona Shand
Associate Professor
Project Main Description: 

Prescription opioids have an important role to play in providing relief of acute pain and in treating opioid dependence. Their role in chronic pain is more limited and controversial. Nevertheless, prescriptions for opioid analgesics have been rising in Australia and other developed nations for more than a decade. At the same time, many jurisdictions have experienced a rise in harms such as opioid poisonings and overdose deaths.

Project Collaborators: External: 

Professor Wayne Hall (University of Queensland)

Professor Louisa Degenhardt (Burnet Institute)

A/Prof. Milton Cohen (UNSW and St Vincent’s Hospital)

A/Prof. Nick Lintzeris (SESIAHS)

  • To identify recent changes in opioid prescribing and any associated harms in Tasmania
  • To review prescribing practices for opioids and other drugs of dependence in Tasmania and make recommendations regarding good clinical practice for chronic non-malignant pain
  • To identify the educational requirements to ensure good clinical practice in the area of chronic non-malignant pain
  • To review the regulatory frameworks for schedule 8 medications
Design and Method: 

The project will involve analysis of relevant datasets to identify changes in prescribing patterns and associated harms; interviews with prescribers in Tasmania; reviews of the published and grey literature for chronic non-malignant pain, opioid prescribing, and evidence-based regulatory systems; and the use of expert reference groups to advise on clinical practice and regulatory models.


The literature reviews and data analysis are currently underway. We have consulted with regulators and a wide range of clinicians. A draft report is due at the end of May.


Three reports to the Tasmanian Department of Health and Human Services; peer reviewed manuscripts.


This project will inform the policy and practices regarding opioid analgesic prescribing in Tasmania. In doing so, it will contribute to improved management of chronic non-malignant pain and potentially reduce the risk of harms associated with prescription opioids.

Project Research Area: 
Drug Type: 
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