In Victoria, prescription drugs caused or contributed to 83% of the overdose deaths in 2014.2

Up to 20% of people in Australia have chronic pain and opioids are increasingly being used to treat these patients.3

The increase in prescribing opioids in Australia is following a similar trend in the United States. The pendulum has swung from no opioids in the early 1980s to what is now being described as “prescription opioid abuse epidemic”. In 2013 there were more deaths in the United States from prescription opioid overdose than there were from vehicle accidents.4

In 2014, in Australia, deaths from overdose and from motor vehicle accidents were almost the same (close to 1200 per year).5

In many cases, the deceased did not intend to take their own life.

In many cases, their treating doctors had prescribed the same type of medications either found with them or in their system on autopsy.

In MIGA’s new Claims Hypothetical “Who dunnit? – A poisonous pill”, a mock Coronial Inquest will investigate the death of a patient from prescription drugs.

All the treating doctors, GPs and specialists, sought to alleviate the chronic pain suffered by a patient who had a complex history of health complaints and surgery. Instead, the pain management was out of control, the patient became drug dependent and an inadvertent overdose resulted in the worst outcome for the patient and her young family.

Join us at the Coronial Inquest to discuss the issues in prescribing for chronic pain and to better understand the coronial process of investigation. Moderated by Professor Guy Maddern with a team of experts, it is guaranteed to be thought provoking and informative.

The hypothetical is held as the plenary session at the MIGA Risk Management Conferences held around Australia during the 2017 – 2018 Program.

Book a Conference online via the Client Area at

A Conference attracts the full 10 MIGA Points as well as College CPD accreditation.

1 Findings of Inquest into the deaths of Christopher Salib, Nathan Attard and Shamsad Akhtar, NSW Coroners Court, Deputy State Coroner C. Forbes, 27 June 2014
2 The Victorian Coroners Prevention Unit, Drug Overdose Deaths Register
3 Why and how should we wean patients off their opioids, Dr P Briscoe, Pain Management Today May 2017, Volume 4, Number 1
4 Dowell D,et al CDC guideline for prescribing opioids for chronic pain – US 2016.
5 Penington Institute. Australia’s annual overdose report 2016;

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