Codeine abuse costing the Australian health system

Monday, 25 September, 2017

Codeine abuse costing the Australian health system

Misuse of over-the-counter codeine painkillers cost the Australian health system over $1 million from admissions to a single hospital over five years, according to a South Australian study.

The researchers looked through records and found 30 patients had been admitted 99 times overall for misuse. On average the patients stayed for six days and cost over $10,000 each, with one in 10 going into intensive care. The authors say the consequences of misuse are serious and need to be better identified and managed.

‘Counting the cost of over-the-counter codeine containing analgesic misuse: A retrospective review of hospital admissions over a 5 year period’ was published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Review.

Image credit: © de Bruyne

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