With more than three million Australians reporting the use of an illicit drug in 2016 alone, pharmacists have a significant role to play in substance abuse education, prevention and support.

Learning objectives

After successful completion of this CPD activity, pharmacists should be able to:

  • Discuss the use of complementary medicines in assisting with management of substance use disorders.
  • Discuss the use of N-acetylcysteine in management of substance use disorders, including its benefits and harms.
  • Recognise the role of the complementary and alternative medicine practitioner in assisting patients with substance use disorders.

Competencies (2016) addressed: 1.1, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 2.2, 3.1, 3.2, 3.5, 3.6.

Accreditation code: CAP1810C

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According to the 2016 National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NDSHS), around 3.1 million Australians reported using an illicit drug that year. The most commonly used (at least once in the past 12 months) were cannabis (10.4%), cocaine (2.5%), and ecstasy (2.2%). Although use of crystal methamfetamine (ice) had declined (1.4%), those using it were doing so more frequently, increasing the risk of harm.1

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