Leader of the Reason Party and Member for the Northern Metropolitan Region, Fiona Patten, has today called for a trial of hydromorphone for the states’ opioid users, arguing the coronavirus is leading to riskier drug use.
“We know the pandemic will affect the drug supply, but that doesn’t mean it will stop opioid addiction, people will start mixing a dangerous cocktail to get a similar high,” Ms Patten said.
Ms Patten has called for a hydromorphone trial, a drug which has proven to help chronic users break the drug-crime nexus .
A 2018 Canadian study found hydromorphone reduced mortality, increased quality of life, and saved the health system nearly $140,000 CAD per individual, when compared to methadone alone. The opioid, prescribed by a doctor, is injectable and has proven successful in reducing the use of all drugs and illegal activity.
“Results from Canada show it is more effective than methadone as an opioid replacement therapy,” Ms Patten said. “It breaks the link between addiction and crime for some of the most chronic users who have unsuccessfully tried all other treatments.
“We know it’s safer for users and society if people can access prescription medication alternatives to toxic street drugs. Hydromorphone can have the effect of refocusing chaotic lifestyles away from trying to score and onto things like finding work and reconnecting with family. At the same time it has reduced the demand for heroin, meaning less local drug trafficking and a subsequent improved amenity.”
Ms Patten and The Reason Party were key in the establishment of the Medically Supervised Injecting Centre in North Richmond, which has proven to be hugely successful in tackling the “war zone” like drug problem in the area. Over 2,500 potentially fatal overdoses have been managed by the centre in the past two years.
“The injecting centre works – it is saving lives,” said Ms Patten. “It has been a major harm reduction tool in tackling what was a health crisis on the streets of Richmond.
“I am calling on the state government to not only extend the two-year trial of the medically supervised injecting room in its current location, but to explore how we can expand its success to other areas of our state. We should consider what other sites might be suitable for similar facilities where the need is great.”
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