Microsoft word - newsletter may 2008.doc

Families and Friends for Drug Law Reform (ACT) Inc.
committed to preventing tragedy that arises from illicit drug use PO Box 4736, HIGGINS ACT 2615, Telephone (02) 6254 2961 NEWSLETTER
ISSN 1444-200
The ACT has followed other jurisdictions in focussing NEXT Meeting
on process – measures like more and better qualified child protection workers, improving co-ordination, developing greater community awareness, better information systems, extending mandatory reporting, better follow up of reports, improving the placement Venue: St Ninian’s Uniting Church, cnr Mouat
system, developing more alternative care and improving the quality of care. This focus is not enough. Governments must look beyond the existing silo of child protection and came up with ways of doing things better. On 14 May 2008 of John Ley, Joan Westaway and Bill Bush appeared before the inquiry. Here is John’s 2008 DRUG ACTION WEEK FORUM
Can NSPs reduce OH&S risk
“Families and Friends for Drug Law Reform is grateful in the AMC?
to the Committee for the opportunity to appear before it. Syringes and Work Safety in
“There is no more important issue than what the the new ACT Prison
Committee is considering – the well-being of our children “And it is harder to imagine a tougher, more challenging aspect than the well-being of children of drug affected Speaker: Mr John Ryan
CEO, ANEX, leading community-based organisation “We all agree that the best interests of children should come first. Sponsored by ACT Greens MLA, Dr Deb Foskey in the Reception Room, the Legislative Assembly, “Families and Friends for Drug Law Reform has one central and simple request of the Committee to promote that end. “The Committee should acknowledge the large body of evidence that many measures dictated by existing drug FFDLR makes submission to
policy cause serious harm to children including to unborn children and infants aged up to two years old. child protection inquiry
“Women and men who are drug dependent have children Families and Friends has made a written submission to just as do other members of the community an “Inquiry into the early intervention and care of vulnerable infants in the ACT” being conducted by the “Children cannot as a matter of course be removed from Standing Committee on Health and Disability of the drug dependent parents: there are not enough carers or people to adopt them and we know the great harm that forcible removal of children can so often cause. Child protection is a burning issue around the country. Governments are being called on to devote more and “At the same time we cannot afford to wait for crises to more resources to address this scandalous problem develop because what we have learnt, over the last 10 years, about the influence of the environment on brain The nub of our submission is that many drug policy WHAT’S INSIDE
measures actually promote child abuse and neglect by, for example, weakening rather than strengthening the Naltrexone implants dangerous
parenting capacity of many marginalised people. An ACT inquiry reports into the use of
obvious example are measures that deter drug dependent crystal methamphetamine “ice”
mothers from accessing ante-natal and early childhood services. Public comments sought in review of
When coping with families of complex needs (generally ACT alcohol and drug driving laws
involving substance dependence and other mental health 2007 Household survey: First results
issues) it is vital that all policies bearing on the well being of children be considered. development, from conception until early childhood, awaiting a routine replacement of his existing implant. tells us that damage will already have been done. In spite of an implant being in place and within the time “We must support parents and particularly mothers the of its expected duration, there was no sign of naltrexone whole way through and above all we must stop deterring in the son’s body suggesting that the implant was drug dependent women from engaging in treatment out of concern that their children will be removed. The big worry of Families and Friends about naltrexone “The Committee should take notice of the large body of is that it has been promoted in the media and by those evidence showing that it is possible for people to live who give priority to being drug free over life and fulfilling and socially responsible lives while remaining wellbeing as a miracle cure for heroin addiction. It is addicted. Families and Friends for Drug Law Reform clearly not. It is bad enough when desperate families has seen this happen and can point to model parents who outlay large sums of money for a treatment that does not work. It is outrageous if the treatment in fact raises the risk of serious illness and death. “We can and must minimise the stress that drug dependent parents presently suffer in juggling their In 1998 the Therapeutic Goods Administration registered the drug as “an aid in the maintenance of previously opiate-dependent patients who have ceased “As a result of drug policy these people are so often treated as criminals and outcasts. When this happens their children suffer. However, the drug has not been included in the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme as a treatment for “Families and Friends for Drug Law Reform strongly opioid dependence. The scheme’s advisory committee supports interventions to combat problems like child has rejected two applications to register it on the grounds neglect and abuse fashioned in the light of this large and of lack of evidence of efficacy. Although the drug growing body of knowledge of risk and protective blocks the action of heroin when taken orally, there is something about it that makes it hard for many people to “Our submission identifies risk factors embedded in remain in treatment. The danger then is increased risk of existing drug policy. The absence of discussion at the policy level of this aspect is a gaping hole in the “Intermittent naltrexone consumption lowers opioid consideration of effective policy responses to the serious tolerance, thereby increasing the risk of heroin and growing problem of child neglect and abuse. overdose. An Australian study found the death rate “Just as parents have obligations towards their children for those leaving naltrexone treatment was eight so do we all have the obligation to do what is within our times that recorded among participants leaving treatment with agonists such as methadone or “Thus, we share responsibility for harm to children if we support the continuation of measures that are known to In order to overcome the difficulties of adherence, administration of naltrexone under general anaesthesia “We ask that members of the Committee give open or heavy sedation followed by oral administration was minded consideration to the need to recommend changes to policies and programs that, in their operation, lead to Implants are now being used as another means of harm to drug dependent parents and their children.” overcoming those adherence difficulties. It is reported Naltrexone implants dangerous
that the drug has been implanted in more than 1,500 individuals under the Special Access Scheme of the Once again naltrexone has been in the news for the Therapeutic Goods Administration. This scheme permits wrong reasons. This time the Medical Journal of the use in life threatening situations of drug products that Australia reported in April on “eight patients with have not satisfied the rigorous scrutiny required for the naltrexone implants who developed serious medical registration of new products. The recent report of complications considered to be related to the implant.” complications relating to implants throws doubt on the On the ABC Health Report one of the authors described wisdom of permitting this special access. in the following terms the complications arising from the The editorial in the Medical Journal of Australia acute withdrawal that the implants precipitated: acknowledges that there may well be a place for “We had a number of people who within hours and naltrexone but first there needs to be a thorough going days after having one of these implants placed in evaluation of the type normally required for new their body were experiencing severe medical problems, either severe withdrawals, episodes of “A recent randomised controlled study of depot confusion or delirium, even kidney impairment naltrexone for the treatment of opioid dependence leading them to become rather ill and requiring had encouraging results. The strong theoretical admission to hospital. We've had two of them who rationale for the usefulness of naltrexone in treating required intensive care admissions, one for over a week and we've had quite a number of others investigations. However, the uncontrolled use of requiring intravenous fluids and requiring several unregistered products of uncertain quality hampers the development of proper clinical trials.” On the same Health Report a mother described the Alex D. Wodak, Robert Ali, David Henry and Lloyd overdose death of her son that occurred while he was Sansom “Ensuring the safety of new medications and devices: are naltrexone implants safe?” in Medical delayed action pending the experience of jurisdictions Journal of Australia, vol. 188, no. 8 (21 April 2008) where it has been introduced. All six Australian states have introduced laws. The ACT is now about to move. ABC Radio National, “Naltrexone implants,” Health On 1 May Minister for Territory and Municipal Services, John Hargreaves MLA, launched a discussion paper on “Improving road safety by reducing drink and drug driving on the Territory’s roads”. He has called for submissions from the public by Monday 16 June 2008. ACT inquiry reports into the use
Families and Friends for Drug Law Reform is of crystal methamphetamine “ice”
The ACT Standing Committee on Health and Disability The relevant principles would appear to include: has come up with a raft of practical and useful Measures should be focussed on road safety and not recommendations in its new report on crystal methamphetamine. Its chair, Karin MacDonald, tabled Testing should be introduced for all substances the report in the Legislative Assembly on 8 May. whether legal or illegal for which there is substantial “While crystal methamphetamine is a dangerous drug that is having a significant impact on (b) tests are available that can measure impairment individuals and the community, it represents a small and not just the presence of the substance. percentage of problem associated with drug use and abuse in the ACT” (§91). The measures should not undermine the credibility of safe driving messages directed at those who Nevertheless, the committee ranged widely, making consume drugs by, for example, implying any recommendations on the protection of children, assisting consumption is a danger when the evidence shows grandparents caring for children, polydrug use and, of that impairment is for only a short period above a course, dual diagnosis. On this last aspect, the Committee made a familiar observation that: The need to review other aspects of drug policy that “Problems for this group [with a dual diagnosis] are serve to encourage drug users to drive when compounded by the limited understanding of alcohol and other drugs within the mental health system and limited understanding of mental health issues in the The Committee supported “allocating designated dual diagnosis funding to facilitate better policy and service How crime took on the world
co-ordination for people with a dual diagnosis” (rec. 6). The BBC the World Service is screening a four-part It also called for “a short term drug rehabilitation series which charts the explosion and growth of residential program in the ACT, on trial basis” and for improved training and support for youth services “Over the last two decades, organised crime has catering for young people up to 25 (recs. 17 & 18). dramatically increased its share of the world economy to Families and Friends appeared before the inquiry a year ago. We are pleased to see that, generally, the approach Misha Glenny, the producer, “has spent the last three of the Committee was consistent with what we had years investigating criminal networks in our newly recommended. On the controversial question of the banning of ice pipes which we opposed because it would “Drug trafficking is the most lucrative illicit business in lead to more injecting, the Committee had a bob both the world. In Programme One, Misha begins his journey ways. It recommended further consultation before any in Canada, where the wholesale production of marijuana or BC Bud as it is known - is posing a profound On pill testing it followed the approach of a federal challenge to the whole idea of the US-led 'War on inquiry that “the ACT Government monitors the Victorian pill testing trial in the interests of harm “In British Colombia alone, this illegal industry employs reduction for all drug users, their families and the nearly twice as many people as the traditional sectors of logging, mining, oil and gas. A conservative estimate puts the number of residential properties in the province used as full-time growing operations for marijuana at comments
“These are people who make colossal profits smuggling review of ACT alcohol and drug
hundreds of kilos of marijuana into the United States every year, where marijuana is sold for twice as much as driving laws
Commendably, the ACT Government has not been rushed to introduce drug testing of drivers but has 04/080424_how_crime_took_on_world_one.shtml Recent drug use of the most popular illicit drugs from 1993 to 2007
Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2007 National Drug Strategy Household Survey, first results, table 2.1 r
r o
Non-medical use of pain killers/analgesics “The average age at which new users first tried illicit drugs remained close to 19 years of age. The most 2007 Household survey:
accessible illicit drugs were marijuana/cannabis and First results out
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare published population respectively were offered or had the in April its first results of the 2007 household survey. opportunity to use these drugs for non-medical purposes, The Institute has carried out this survey every three years since 1993. It gives the most accurate picture of “Driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of patterns in usage in the general community of both the illicit drugs was reported by 2.9% of Australians aged 14 legal recreational drugs, alcohol and tobacco, and the years or older. One in nine persons (11.0%) was verbally most commonly used illicit ones. There is less abused and one in 50 (2.0%) was physically abused by confidence in its accuracy in measuring usage of lesser someone affected by illicit drugs” (p. xii). populations. According to the survey, usage of heroin “One in eight people (12.1%) admitted to driving a remained stable at 0.2% of the population but usage of motor vehicle and one in 17 (5.7%) admitted to verbally cocaine climbed significantly from 1.0% in 2004 to abusing someone while under the influence of alcohol. One-quarter (25.4%) of Australians aged 14 years or The Institute’s report included the following summary: older had been verbally abused and 4.5% had been “Almost two in every five Australians (38.1%), aged 14 physically abused by someone under the influence of years or older, had used an illicit drug at some time in their lives and more than one in seven (13.4%) had used Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2007 illicit drugs in the previous 12 months. National drug strategy household survey: first results “The most commonly-reported illicit drug used in the (Drug statistics series no. 20) (Canberra, April 2008) at previous 12 months was marijuana/cannabis (9.1% of people aged 14 years or older), followed by ecstasy (3.5%), pain killers/analgesics used for non-medical “It makes no sense at all to provide intensive purposes (2.5%) and meth/amphetamine (which includes support to enable people to conduct their lives responsibly when they would have been able to do “Between 2004 and 2007, there was a significant fall in so but for other policies of the government. the proportion of the population aged 14 years or older Conduct by the Government of this sort is like who had used an illicit drug in the past 12 months, from adopting admirable efforts to rescue from drowning 15.3% to 13.4%. Recent marijuana/cannabis use, in particular, had dropped significantly between 2004 and 2007, from 11.3% to 9.1%. Recent use also declined for [FFDLR submission to child protection inquiry] meth/amphetamine but increased for cocaine.


Microsoft word - cso malawi letter final.docx

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