On 27 June 2014, the Coroners Court of New South Wales released its findings in the inquest into the deaths of Christopher Salib, Nathan Attard and Shamsad Akhtar; three (unrelated) persons found to have dangerous quantities of addictive prescription medication in their systems at the time of their deaths.

Deputy-Coroner Forbes was critical of the unchecked nature of “doctor shopping”, being the way in which individuals can obtain repeat prescriptions for large quantities of addictive medication by seeing multiple practitioners.  DC Forbes noted that, in total, Victorian Coroners have made seven recommendations calling for a real time prescribing monitoring system to prevent deaths from prescription medication.  At this time, no such system exists.

DC Forbes recommended, among other things, that all benzodiazepines be moved to Schedule 8 of the Standards for the Uniform Scheduling of Medicines and Poisons (which would require psychiatric consultation before provision to a patient) and that the Royal Australian College of General Practitioner introduce a clinical guideline regarding the management, prescription and circumstances in which long term antidepressants and antipsychotic medication are provided to patients.

To view the findings, click here.