Patterns of prescription opioid use following ED presentation for minor road traffic crash injury

Grant ID: EMSS-454R32-2019-Perez

Project Summary

Australia is five years behind the US’ opioid epidemic (>15,000 US deaths/year). General Practitioners and EDs frequently prescribe opioids for isolated musculoskeletal pain (e.g. “whiplash”) from RTCs, but this potentially inappropriate opioid prescribing likely leads to unnecessary opioid exposures. In the last decade, opioid overdoses in Australia have more than doubled. 75% of opioid overdose deaths involve prescription opioids; annual death rates exceed road traffic deaths.

Emergency Departments (EDs) commonly prescribe opioids on discharge for patients with non-serious road traffic crash (RTC) injury. This potentially compromises recovery and contributes to continued opioid use and potential misuse in the community.

The project will address the gap on whether, or for how long, short courses of opioids are continued following acute non-serious RTC injury, and to what extent this causes subsequent problems, by measuring patterns of use, impacts, and costs of opioid use in EDs and following discharge over a 12-month period.

The project will provide the first Australian data on opioid prescribing in ED for acute minor RTC injuries and link ED data to community data to explore longitudinal prescribing patterns post RTC.


Amount Awarded


Grant Scheme


Principal Investigator:
Dr Siegfried Perez

Co Investigators:
A/Prof Jane Nikles
Prof Michele Sterling
Dr Eric Richman
Dr Amy Johnson
Prof Mieke van Driel
A/Prof Cate Cameron
Dr Carrie Ritchie
Dr Rachel Elphinston

Associate Investigators:
Mr Randall Simon
Ms Kirsten Strudwick
Mr Paul Stankunas
Mr Andrew Bermingham
Ms Petina Hodges
Prof Jason Connor
A/Prof Francesca Beaudoin
Dr Samantha Hollingworth
Ms Jacelle Warren
Dr Chris Freeman


Collaborating Institutions

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