Australian over-the-counter addiction expert gives WIT talk

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Dealing with the misuse of and addiction to codeine and other opioids will be the topic of a free public lecture on Monday at 6pm at WIT. The topic will be of interest to students, researchers, lecturers, and others who may have concerns about misuse of over-the-counter medicines in their group of friends or family.

Dealing with the misuse of and addiction to codeine and other opioids will be the topic of a free public lecture on Monday at 6pm at WIT. The topic will be of interest to students, researchers, lecturers, and others who may have concerns about misuse of over-the-counter medicines in their group of friends or family.

Codeine is an over- the- counter (OTC) painkiller and anti-diarrhoeal. Codeine is a natural opiate, and opioids are synthetic derivatives. It is also the most commonly consumed opiate in the world, and is in the same family as heroin. Although its effects are milder than heroin, people can become physically dependent on codeine in as little as three days.

Dr. Suzanne Nielsen of Australia’s National Drug and Alcohol Centre at The University of New South Wales is an international scientific expert in the addictions field. She has been invited to give the lecture by the CODEMISUSED Project a two year international study into codeine addiction, funded to the tune of €2m.

“The abuse potential for codeine is a major concern for medics, pharmacists and addiction treatment providers,” says Dr Marie Claire Van Hout, lecturer in the Department of Health, Sport and Exercise Science, School of Health Sciences, WIT and CODEMISUSED Project Principal Investigator.

“We have broadened the scope of Dr Nielsen’s lecture beyond codeine misuse as there are other opioids that the public don’t readily identify with addiction and don’t feel it’s unsafe to consume,” she explains.

“Individuals who misuse these OTC painkillers also have a pain problem that needs to be addressed separate to their addiction, which creates a problem for their overall treatment for professionals. Dr Nielsen will discuss these challenges when in Waterford.”

The event has ICGP CPD recognition for eligible health professionals and will be of particular interest to those working in pharmacies, addiction services and other health professionals.

Dr Van Hout, who has extensive experience in the field of drug addiction, says CODEMISUSED aims to develop ways to support and educate customers and empower pharmacies as custodians of codeine medicines.

Dr Nielsen has been involved in reviewing the findings so far of the CODEMISUSED Project and has been doing similar work in Australia.

Attendance is free – doors open at 6pm. Lecture starts at 6.30pm with an introduction to CODEMISUSED followed by Dr Nielsen.

The CODEMISUSED Project was selected for funding under the FP7 Marie Curie Industry Academia Partnership and Pathways strand and has been accepted onto the register of EC funded studies on the ENCePP register of the EMA.

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