South Metropolitan Region MLC Phil Edman MLC is concerned people addicted to codeine are going to dangerous measures to feed their habit.
Today the politician claims he witnessed a young man hold up staff at Greg’s Discount Chemist, Rockingham, after they refused to sell him a products containing codeine.
Police were quickly on the scene and the man was taken away for questioning.
Codeine is an opiate pain medication that appears in common over-the-counter medications such as Panadeine Extra, Neurofen Plus and cough medicine. As with other opiate-based pain killers extended use can led to physical dependence.
“Codeine can become like any other illicit drug where a user gets withdrawal symptoms and cravings that make them desperate to get hold of more,” Mr Edman said.
Earlier this month the Federal Government’s medicines regulator, the Therapeutic Goods Administration, suggested that the growing abuse of codeine in Australia should be addressed by making the drugs prescription only. The interim report from its Advisory Committee on Medicines Scheduling recommends making codeine-based products prescription only from June next year.
The Pharmacy Guild of Australia warned that making codeine products prescription only would increase the workload for doctors and force up Medicare costs.
Greg’s Discount Chemist staff said codeine should be treated the same as pseudoephedrine, a decongestant that can be used to make methamphetamine, where the pharmacy will require a customer to produce photo ID before supplying the drug.
“Understandably the staff are shaken by this event. Managing codeine like pseudoephedrine will help stop the minority who are misusing the drug without punishing those who take it responsibly,” Mr Edman concluded.