Vol. 18, ed. 1

August 2021

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Foreword

The stories in The Bulletin are about the frontline issues faced by workers grappling with the complexities of drug use and health.

This month’s edition is no exception. Naloxone, who can get their hands on it, and the barriers to access which remain. Data collection – what does it achieve and what are the requirements on services around Australia? And what it feels like to save someone who’s overdosing.

It was a privilege to do a Q&A with Scott Wilson, the CEO of the Aboriginal Drug and Alcohol Council (South Australia), a person who not only helps the clients of his service but has for decades been a person supporting reason and compassion in relation to drug use, from the halls of power in Canberra to remote communities. Scott is an innovator and collaborator and an inspiration to many, including me.

In an interesting piece in The Medical Journal of Australia, Pallavi Prathivadi and Elizabeth Sturgiss ask an important question – when will opioid agonist therapy, also known as pharmacotherapy, become a normal part of health care?

Why, do the authors ask, when over a quarter of all general practice patients who receive pharmaceutical opioids become dependent, is pharmacotherapy still not part of the toolkit of most GPs? Especially as it becomes more and more difficult to prescribe opioid drugs, increasing the chance of desperate patients seeking them illicitly, GPs should play “a leading role” in recognising and treating opioid use disorder.

The police often say that ‘we can’t arrest our way out of the drug problem’. I think the health care sector should now play a leading role in drug dependence treatment but there are far too few mainstream health care professionals enthusiastic about engaging with addiction issues.

It’s a persuasive piece and worth a read.

A reminder to send us your feedback. Australia’s only publication for frontline NSP workers must be shaped by their insights.

As always, please get in touch and please share The Bulletin far and wide with your colleagues and friends.

 

John Ryan

CEO, Penington Institute