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Controversial codeine laws kick in at midnight

From midnight Wednesday, new laws mean Australians will need a prescription to purchase codeine medications.

The decision was made to stop people abusing the substance, despite only 0.002% of purchases resulting in a codeine-related death.

It’s expected the move will clog up hospital and GP waiting rooms in an attempt to cover the 5.5 million codeine purchases every year.

Ben Fordham speaks with Head of Pharmacology at University of Notre Dame’s School of Medicine, University of Notre Dame, Professor Peter Carroll.

“We will continue to try and point all the problems that this is going to create and how unnecessary this whole procedure is.

“The vast majority of people who use the over-counter low dose codeine… use them perfectly safely for the short-term treatment of everyday pain.”

Professor Carroll points out if a doctor doesn’t bulk bill, the Medicare gap can be $30.

“Before you ever start, you’ve put another $30 onto the cost of these products.”

Listen to the full interview below