However, leading bodies for GPs and pharmacists were more open to some of the proposals, in particular reducing the size of packs and banning the sale of painkillers to under-18s in supermarkets.
Buckley said the key was to reduce drug storage in homes. A survey of people who had self-poisoned with paracetamol conducted by the NSW Poisons Information Center found that only 10% had recently bought the painkillers.
“It’s not people who go to the supermarket on impulse. These are the people who go to the closet impulsively,” he said.
Helen Christensen, Scientia Professor of Mental Health at UNSW and Board Director of the Black Dog Institute, who also authored the report, agreed that the restriction was an important part of tackling self-harm. She was concerned that families kept large quantities of a range of medicines at home.
“And we are also very committed to trying to get agreement on restricting access to paracetamol to supermarkets over 18, as evidence shows this would reduce overdoses among young people,” she said. added.
Preliminary results from a survey of more than 6,500 Australian Grade 8 students, conducted by Black Dog between 2019 and 2021, found that one in four girls said they had self-harmed at least once, compared to around one boy out of six.
“In general, girls tend to have more anxiety and depression, while boys use more drugs and alcohol,” Christensen said of the results.
While the survey, which has yet to be peer-reviewed, did not specifically ask participants about paracetamol use, Christensen said that may be a question asked when the cohort is polled again. in five years.
Speaking at a Senate estimates hearing on Thursday, Professor John Skerritt, the TGA’s chief medical adviser, was at pains to point out that the regulator had “no preferred outcome” for the meeting of Friday.
“We have put together a range of possible options in order to get feedback on them,” he said. “We are not advocating any of these options, we are seeking comment on them.”
A tentative decision on the proposals is expected next year, with no changes able to be implemented before the end of 2023.
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