Turning Point COVID-19 Statement

Last updated 12 May 2020

Easing of Stage 3 restrictions in Victoria

From midnight tonight, Stage 3 COVID-19 restrictions will ease in Victoria. The new arrangements, permitting outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people and up to 5 visitors to each home, represent the start of reconnecting our communities.

For people affected by addiction, these new arrangements mean that some support services and groups will be able to return to community facilities and host in-person meetings. Here at Turning Point, we will remain open and available to help through a combination of in-person, online and phone services.

We understand that people may be experiencing mixed emotions about the reviewing of restrictions. There may be relief about being less isolated, or anxiety about the uncertainty and continued vigilance that will be part of the weeks ahead. We recognise that now is still a challenging time, so please continue to check in with how you are feeling, maintain healthy habits, and reach out for support where needed.

covidsafe app logoThe COVIDSafe App has also been launched by the Department of Health, to assist in the early detection of people who have been in contact with a person who has a positive diagnosis of COVID-19. Please download the app and encourage your loved ones to do the same, as this will help to suppress the spread of the virus.

14 March 2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, necessary containment measures, like physical distancing and closures of public spaces, are making it harder for people affected by addiction to keep up treatment regimens, access services and stay connected with help.

COVID-19 has the significant potential to increase risks related to alcohol, drugs and gambling. People who smoke, vape, or use opioids or methamphetamine may be more susceptible to COVID-19, because of the effects these have on respiratory health. Physical distancing will increase the likelihood of opioid overdoses happening where there are no bystanders who can administer naloxone to reverse them, and make it more difficult for those needing opioid treatment to access medical and pharmacy support. Alcohol, drugs and gambling have also been shown to increase during recessions, when unemployment and loss of financial security increase psychological distress. Research tells us that adverse experiences in childhood are linked with future substance use and gambling disorders, and COVID-19 is likely to increase the exposure of children to experiences such as loss, disaster and even medical trauma.

Like many reacting to this evolving situation, Turning Point is concerned and closely monitoring the disruption and uncertainty COVID-19 is creating. We understand that during this period it is particularly important that support remains available to those who need it. We remain here to help.

We have an expert and adaptable workforce who are working together to provide innovative solutions to service delivery throughout this crisis. Turning Point is committed to delivering high quality addiction treatment, education and research, and we are adapting our services to keep our communities healthy and safe. We are also creating resources for clinicians navigating this complex landscape to help them provide best practice care.

Our treatment services are proud to be providing essential healthcare that responds to the needs of people affected by addiction across Victoria and Australia. While things are frequently changing with COVID-19, Turning Point is constantly reviewing how we deliver services to ensure everyone receives the support they need. We have moved to using a combination of in-person, online and phone services for treatment and providing training, and have implemented stringent infection control and physical distancing measures at our locations to minimise infection risk.

Existing clients of our treatment services are being contacted about any changes to the way their treatment and support are provided. Anyone interested in receiving advice or support around their alcohol, drugs or gambling can always contact Directline, Counselling Online, Gambler’s Help or Gambling Help Online, or seek a referral to our specialist teams in Richmond or Box Hill.

With all that is happening across the world with COVID-19, so many things are changing. What hasn’t changed is Turning Point’s commitment to ensuring people and communities affected by addiction are fully supported, either through adapting the way we deliver services, build evidence, offer specialist training or advocate to government.

We recognise that these are challenging times. We are grateful for the cooperation and support we have seen from everyone accessing our services as well as the broader health sector. For further updates about Turning Point’s response to COVID-19 and the work we are doing, please check our website and connect with our social media channels.

Thank you for continuing to stand with us, and our mission to maximise the health and wellbeing of people and communities affected by addiction.

Wishing you all safety and good health,

Turning Point