Turning Point COVID-19 Statement

Last updated 16 October 2020

On Sunday 27 September, Second Step restrictions came into effect in metropolitan Melbourne. This means there is no longer a curfew in place and you can leave home at any time for one of the four reasons – shopping, exercise, work or for medical reasons. For regional Victoria, Third Step restrictions came into effect on Wednesday 16 September, meaning there are no restrictions on the reasons to leave home. For more information on these steps, please refer to the Department of Health and Human Services website.

Here at Turning Point, we 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 current restrictions. There may be relief about being less isolated, or anxiety about the uncertainty and continued vigilance that will be part of the steps to reopening. 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.

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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

COVID-19 has 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, makingit 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.

Turning Point is 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 are using a combination of in-person, online and phone services for treatment, and have implemented stringent infection control and physical distancing measures at our locations to minimise infection risk.

Existing clients of our treatment services will be contacted about any changes to the way their treatment and support is 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 refer to our dedicated webpage 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