THE RECENT codeine ban which came into effect on February 1 is a step in the right direction, according to local pharmacist Aaron Chor.
All products containing codeine have been taken from shelves and are now only accessible with a script from a doctor.
The ban followed fears from the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) of a high prevalence of addiction to codeine across the nation.
“The ban is a good thing, I think selling codeine over the counter was too risky, people can become dependent on it so quickly and it is highly addictive,” Mr Chor said.
“We have informed people of the recent changes when they have come in to the store and we have had no issues or problems.
“We have either directed them to the doctor to get a script or we have given them advice on some other option like natural remedies and other pain relief medication that is not codeine.”
Codeine is an opiate drug used to curb pain, and the TGA’s worry was that in the healing process from injury people were becoming reliant, which can result in addiction, and in some cases death.
In 2016, opiate drugs such as oxycodone and codeine were the cause of 550 deaths in Australia.
Mr Chor said codeine isn’t gone forever, and people using the drug for the right reasons could still access it.
“People can still talk to a doctor about getting a pain management plan — there are still other options.
“This way a clamp can just be put on the people who weren’t using it correctly.”
Mr Chor believes the Heathcote Pharmacy didn’t see anyone develop an addiction, due to their close monitoring of sales of codeine.
“We used to input every sale into the system and from there we could track how often people were buying codeine products.
“But like I said, if people are experiencing pain they can come in to the store and we can still offer advice and point them in the right direction.”