APA’s response to overdose report

Australia’s Annual Overdose Report 2019 has revealed that the number of deaths related to unintentional drug overdose has increased by 38 per cent between 2001 and 2017 and is growing by 3.4 per cent per year.

Of these overdoses reportedly more than have been found to involve some form of opioid, namely oxycodone or codeine, which are said to be commonly used for chronic pain management.

This has sparked the Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) to call on the Federal Government to invest in evidence-based physiotherapy pain management services.

To stop the unnecessary deaths, APA National President Phil Calvert says the government must invest in multidisciplinary pain management services – particularly physiotherapy pain management services.

“Physiotherapy as part of a multi-disciplinary approach is proven to be beneficial in managing and reducing chronic pain conditions,” Mr Calvert said.

Mr Calvert adds that government funding has traditionally gone towards medicines to manage chronic pain conditions but this “simply hasn’t worked”.

He added: “If we’re really going to get serious about this, we need to put the funding where it works best, and that’s in multidisciplinary pain management services.”

“Physiotherapists who specialise in chronic pain management must have their treatment subsidised via the MBS.

“It’s the best way to support the growing number of Australians across all demographics whose increasing reliance on opioids for their pain is leading to overdose and, tragically, death in too many cases.”

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