DRUGS — FENTANYL
914. Hon COLIN TINCKNELL to the parliamentary secretary
representing the Minister for Health:
The latest Australian Criminal
Intelligence Commission's report on drugs revealed that there is an
increase in fentanyl use in Western Australia. I note that fentanyl is a legally
prescribed schedule 8 drug used for pain relief.
(1) Is there any research into the level of legally
prescribed fentanyl versus the level of illegal use of this drug?
(2) The latest
Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission's report on drugs revealed
that use of fentanyl, also known as popcorn heroin or china white, is on the increase
in Western Australia and Australia. What is the government doing to
specifically respond to this increase?
(3) Are any
regional rehabilitation services planned for 2018–19?
I thank the
honourable member for some notice of the question. I am advised of the
(1) Yes. Both
prescription use of fentanyl—an opioid—and illicit use of
fentanyl have been associated with opioid overdose.
(2) The Western Australian Department of Health issues
authorisations to prescribe opioids, benzodiazepines and other schedule 8 medicines and it monitors the
prescription of schedule 8 medicines from reports received from pharmacies. The
Mental Health Commission convenes and chairs the Overdose Strategy Group. The
OSG is an interagency collaboration of health, paramedic, alcohol and other
drug service, law enforcement, pharmacy and user groups. It monitors and
provides advice about opioid overdose and its prevention in Western Australia.
The Mental Health Commission funds and delivers a range of overdose prevention
initiatives. It also delivers and purchases services for people experiencing
alcohol and other drug problems.
(3) The Mental
Health Commission is seeking to expand the number of beds in the south west of Western
Australia by up to three low medical withdrawal/stabilisation beds and up to 30
residential alcohol and drug treatment beds. These beds will complement and
build on the existing system of alcohol and other drug treatment and support
services across the state. An open tender process has been utilised to procure
these services, which is still being finalised, with the successful proponents
expected to commence services between January and 30 June 2019.