Australian pain-killer switch affects hundreds

Hundreds of Australians were given water instead of pain-killing medication after thieves siphoned off the drugs from ambulance supplies and refilled the empty vials from the tap, officials said Tuesday.

Authorities in the state of Victoria said large amounts of the drug had been taken and an investigation was under way.

"We can confirm that Victoria Police are investigating allegations of theft from a number of Ambulance Victoria response stations," a police spokesman said, adding that two men had been questioned over the theft.

Ambulance Victoria chief executive Greg Sassella said hundreds of patients were affected by the switch.

"We have been able to identify all those patients that may have come into contact with this issue and we have been in direct contact with them and we can assure them they are safe," he said.

"We apologise for any sub-optimal pain relief they had."

Sassella said Victoria's had changed its protocols for the use of fentanyl, which would now be stored in vials that contained less of the drug and had a more robust steel cap.

Fentanyl is a potent often used by paramedics as a fast-acting pain-killer and usually administered as a . It can be addictive and is used by some drug abusers as a substitute for heroin.


Explore further

Fentanyl pain patches are recalled

(c) 2012 AFP

Citation: Australian pain-killer switch affects hundreds (2012, October 16) retrieved 18 January 2020 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2012-10-australian-pain-killer-affects-hundreds.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments