‘Implants needed’ to curb NSW drug use (En)
EXPANDING the NSW Drug Court and trailing an implant that can break dependence on opiates will enable authorities to better help those addicted to drugs and alcohol, a new report says.
The Drug and Alcohol Report, released by the NSW government on Thursday, also calls for further funding to treatment services and education programs.
“Substance abuse is one of our most pressing social issues,” Liberal MP and chair of the reporting committee Marie Ficarra said.
“We must continue to think about how we can respond to the scourge of drug and alcohol abuse more effectively.”
The committee has made seven recommendations to the state government.
They include holding a national summit on alcohol abuse, reporting on the responses to the 2003 NSW alcohol summit, trialing naltrexone implants if approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), expanding the Drug Court program and increasing funding to drug and alcohol treatment services and education courses for students.
“Ministry estimates there are approximately 35,000 people in the state currently dependent on heroin,” the report states.
And to tackle the problem, the committee says it’s necessary to increase the number of treatments.
One such option is naltrexone.
It’s surgically implanted and can keep heroin addicts clean for three to six months by slowly releasing naltrexone, the reports states.
The TGA is yet to approve the implants, saying it hasn’t seen evidence demonstrating its safety and efficacy.
The committee has also recommended the expansion of Drug Courts into regional areas.
Presently three Drug Courts operate, at Parramatta, Toronto and Sydney.
Those put thorough Drug Court programs are significantly lees likely to reoffend, the report states.
And it’s also cheaper than using conventional courts.
“The Drug Court program (achieved) a net saving of $1.758 million per annum,” the report said.