Vic to prepare the medication monitor

Real-time prescription drug monitoring will be rolled out in Victoria to help fight doctor-shopping and opioid abuse.

Health Minister Jill Hennessy said that the system, which is used by doctors and pharmacists to prescribe, will be rolled out in West Victoria from Monday next year and the rest of the state.

It is aimed at combating the misuse of drugs such as opioids and benzodiazepines, following the death of 417 Victorians last year in connection with prescription drugs.

"It helps us to ensure that we do not allow those very dangerous cocktails of prescription drugs to be given to patients," Ms Hennessy told reporters on Saturday.

"It also helps pharmacists and physicians to intervene at an earlier stage if someone develops an addiction to prescription medicines."

Only the prescribing of doctors and pharmacists will have access to the prescription information of a patient and the system will not be linked to the controversial My Health Record scheme of the federal government, which is plagued by concerns about data privacy.

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, an addict addiction specialist, welcomed the Victorian monitoring system, which he said would help improve patient health care and communication between doctors and pharmacists.

"The biggest problem is not so much that people who shop with a doctor, intentionally, but if you like, accidentally shop by a doctor," he said.

"The bigger hit of this process is to actually improve healthcare for people who follow multiple treatments from multiple doctors, and are not specifically focused on patients who deliberately try to touch the system."

Melbourne couple Jill and Roger Cheal lost their 31-year-old daughter, Georgia, to misuse medication in 2006 and believe that prescription control could have saved her life.

Georgia was injured a car accident a decade ago and became addicted to used drugs to combat persistent pain.

"When she died, she died with a toxic mix of medication," Jill Cheal said.

"It should not have been prescribed, but part of the problem was that there was a lack of communication between the attending physicians.

"So if this recipe monitoring system had been installed, it might not have happened."

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