Fellowship to increase capacity of primary care to manage pharmaceutical opioid dependence

CESPHN would like to congratulate our Drug and Alcohol Advisory Committee member, Dr Suzanne Nielsen, on recently receiving a Translating Research into Practice (TRIP) Fellowship from the National Health and Medical Research Council, around enhancing the identification and treatment of pharmaceutical opioid dependence in primary care settings.

Through this TRIP Fellowship, Dr Nielsen will work with community pharmacists to implement screening procedures to better identify problematic pharmaceutical opioid use and develop clearer referral pathways to evidence-based treatments.

Dr Nielsen has focused the last five years of her research to developing an evidence-base for treatment of pharmaceutical opioid dependence, confirming that existing opioid agonist treatments are effective, but barriers to this treatment relate to where and how it is delivered. Her current work aims to meet this gap by implementing screening in primary care for earlier identification of problematic pharmaceutical opioid misuse and establishing clearer referral pathways and models of care.

Dr Nielsen’s research has revealed a strong emerging theme that many people who develop problems with pain medications may be managed in primary care, rather than spending long periods of time attending specialist drug treatment services. Dr Nielsen seeks to increase the capacity of primary care to better respond to pharmaceutical opioid dependence and is interested in hearing from primary care providers to understand how they can be supported to do this.

Dr Nielsen can be contacted at suzanne.nielsen@unsw.edu.au

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L-R: Chris Keyes CESPHN Drug and Mental Health Manager, Lexi Buckfield Drug Health Program Officer, Dr Suzanne Nielsen Translating Research into Practice Fellowship recipient