Need for leadership on addiction

Posted on: Tuesday, 10 October 2017

There are renewed calls from experts for an open and honest discussion about how we can more effectively respond to addiction issues across the community.

Turning Point Director Prof Dan Lubman said it was vital the community, business and government looked to evidence-based solutions in deciding how to best manage the increasingly concerning issue of addiction.

“No one is saying tackling addiction is an easy subject,” Prof Lubman said.

“However, if we are not prepared to ask the hard questions - and consider challenging previously held beliefs - we are doing our clients, their families and society more broadly a disservice.”

Prof Lubman was speaking ahead of today’s Turning Point Annual Oration and Symposium which will feature national experts discussing issues such as heroin overdose, prescription drug misuse and real time prescription drug monitoring.

The Oration will be presented by Dr Marianne Jauncey, Medical Director of the Medically Supervised Injecting Centre in Sydney’s Kings Cross. Other guest speakers include Professor Paul Dietze from the Burnet Institute, Turning Point’s Dr Matthew Frei and Dr Jeremy Dwyer from the Coroner’s Court of Victoria.

Prof Lubman said it was important addiction was looked at primarily as a health issue.

“Law and order certainly has its place in the debate, but the experience of healthcare workers who confront these issues on a daily basis should be given strong consideration.

“If we dismiss alternative options without looking at the evidence of what they can achieve, we are really letting down all people whose lives are affected by addiction.”     

Prof Lubman said it was time the community made its voice heard that tackling addiction should be a key priority.

“There is no quick fix. So it is crucial we start having an open discussion today.”

The Turning Point Oration and Symposium will be held on Tuesday October 10 (today) at the Village Roadshow Theatrette, State Library Victoria. The event has sold-out.