Opportunities and challenges: over-the-counter codeine supply from the codeine consumer’s perspective

Authors

  • Suzanne Nielsen,

    Corresponding author
    1. Eastern Health Clinical School, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
    • Eastern Health, Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Jacqui Cameron,

    1. Eastern Health, Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
    2. Eastern Health Clinical School, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Sanja Pahoki

    1. Eastern Health, Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
    Search for more papers by this author

  • [Correction added on 30 November 2012, after first online publication: Scope of study in the title has been updated to read “...over-the-counter codeine supply from the codeine consumer’s perspective”.]

Correspondence

Dr Suzanne Nielsen, 54-62 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy, Vic. 3065, Australia.

E-mail: suzin@turningpoint.org.au

Abstract

Objectives

This study aimed to gain a better understanding on perspectives of over-the-counter (OTC) codeine users and issues relating to codeine dependence in the community pharmacy setting. Examining OTC codeine users' experiences aimed to promote better understanding of OTC codeine dependence, and inform pharmacy practices.

Methods

Utilising a qualitative research methodology we conducted interviews with 20 participants who were OTC codeine users and met DSM IV criteria for codeine dependence.

Key findings

Key themes identified included experience of participants acquiring OTC codeine and participants' interactions with pharmacists. The OTC codeine-dependent participants found it generally easy to access OTC codeine, describing ‘standard’ questioning, minimal intervention from pharmacists and only occasional refusal to supply. A better appearance and presentation was generally linked to easy codeine supply.

Conclusions

The experiences of participants suggest a number of barriers exist to effective intervention for OTC codeine dependence in the community pharmacy setting. Identification of these barriers will provide an opportunity to more effectively target interventions to reduce harm related to OTC codeine products. Increased involvement of pharmacists in OTC codeine sales was associated with help-seeking by codeine users.

Ancillary