Health officials call for release of key findings on ice use
HEALTH officials are calling on the NSW Government to release the findings of a special report into the impact of crystal methamphetamine.
The four-volume report, which was handed to the NSW Governor General last month, is the culmination of a 14-month Special Commission of Inquiry into crystal methamphetamine and other amphetamine-type stimulants.
The inquiry had received more than 250 submissions, including from alcohol and other drug experts, research organisations, peak bodies, government departments, local councils and individuals.
As part of the process, the Special Commission visited Lismore for three days last May to hear from key witnesses and other authorities, including police and hospital staff, about how the drug ice can have lasting and dangerous effects on those who use it.
The Special Commission also heard at the time about the impacts on police and hospital staff who assisted those using the drug.
"Attending such violent incidents over the course of their career has proved to provide trauma to our police," Richmond Police District Superintendent Toby Lindsay told the inquiry last year.
Now, there's a push to get the government to release the findings of the inquiry to ensure safer drug laws can be rolled out to protect all involved.
"There is no excuse not to release the report in full and respond urgently," President of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) Australasian Chapter of Addiction Medicine, Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones, said.
"With rapid changes in illicit drug supply markets and increasing use of crystal methamphetamine among methamphetamine users, the NSW Government urgently needs to consider and respond to the Special Commission's report.
"It should use the Special Commission's recommendations to inform the development of a strategy that comprehensively addresses drug demand, supply and harm minimisation, in consultation with practising clinical health professionals."
St Vincent's Hospital Sydney's Drug and Alcohol Unit Clinical Director Associate Professor Nadine Ezard said the report would open a better dialogue between medical organisations and the government to create better legislation.
"Groups from right across NSW, including medical organisations, had significant input into this Inquiry because of how deep the harm from methamphetamine use runs in our community," she said.
"The sooner we're able to see the contents of this review, the sooner we can work with the Government on its response to alleviating the impacts of methamphetamine and other drug use in NSW.
"Front and centre must be more funding and better planning for treatment services, particularly in rural and regional parts of the state."
A NSW Government spokesman confirmed the government will be providing "an initial response to the report and release it publicly in the near future."