International Overdose Awareness Day: Time to act.

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) acknowledges International Overdose Awareness Day and calls for naloxone to be PBS-subsidised without a prescription.


Today, 31st August, marks International Overdose Awareness Day, the world’s leading annual campaign striving to end overdose.


PSA National President, A/Prof Chris Freeman, commended the campaign.


“PSA strongly supports the International Overdose Awareness Day campaign and we applaud the work they have done over the past twenty years.


“Most of us know of someone whose life has been affected through overdose and we must do all we can to end this public health crisis.


“To do this, awareness must be raised of the profound grief felt by families and friends whose loved ones have died or suffered permanent injury from a drug overdose,” A/Prof Freeman said.


He went onto discuss how pharmacists can prevent further loss of life through improving accessibility to naloxone.


“Naloxone is a life-saving medicine that can temporarily reverse opioid overdose, allowing enough time for an ambulance to arrive.


“Whilst it is now available over the counter across the country, the price of this medicine puts it out of reach for many, and a prescription is required in order to receive the PBS subsidy. The current process is simply not working in the best interests of those who need it most.


“Whilst we welcome short term trials to improve access in New South Wales, Western Australia, and South Australia, this does not go far enough.


“We need to improve access to this life-saving medicine through all pharmacies across all jurisdictions, by making it the first pharmacist-initiated and supplied PBS item – in doing so, we can decrease the amount of deaths from overdose.


“Pharmacists are Australia’s most accessible healthcare workforce, now is the time to act to make naloxone not only more easily accessible, but affordable – something that will see countless lives saved in Australia,” A/Prof Freeman said.






Media contact: PSA media 0424 777 463