John Day

John Day


Rhonda Parker

Rhonda Parker


    Expanded health services planned to help combat drugs

    18/11/1999 9:05 AM


    Increased drug treatment support for general practitioners and a specialist alcohol and drug medical position at Royal Perth Hospital are two of the health initiatives in the State Government’s second action plan Together Against Drugs.

    The specialist medical service will provide an in-patient clinical consultancy and liaison, so a uniform approach is used to identify and manage patients with alcohol and other drug problems as either a primary or secondary diagnosis.

    The Minister Responsible for WA Drug Abuse Strategy, Rhonda Parker, and Health Minister John Day said the planned hospital position was part of the overall expansion of treatment available through health services outlined in the State Government’s second drug strategy action plan.

    “Our expansion plans will be implemented through the Health Department’s drug strategy, InterAction, which recognises that alcohol and other drug problems contribute to many of the illnesses that cause people to present to hospitals and doctors,” Mr Day said.

    He said general practitioners in both metropolitan and regional areas would be supported with education, training and clinical consultancy and through professional networks to:
      • provide withdrawal support;
      • continue to expand availability of methadone treatment to meet demand;
      • provide naltrexone treatment, and other pharmacotherapies, such as buprenorphine and LAAM as these become available; and -
      • integrate these treatments with specialist health and community support services.

    Mrs Parker said detoxification provided at regional hospitals would be supported by general practitioners and Community Drug Service Teams.

    Support would also be provided for the development of the mental health system’s practice and partnerships with alcohol and other drug services to enhance the treatment of psychiatric patients.

    Mr Day also said more than $1 million dollars was being spent on the alternative drug treatment trials, and funds would be provided to increase the capacity of the Next Step centre in East Perth.

    The trials involve:
      • naltrexone maintenance following heroin withdrawal;
      • either naltrexone, methadone or buprenorphine maintenance after heroin withdrawal using buprenorphine, and -
      • naltrexone maintenance following methadone withdrawal using buprenorphine.

    Mr Day said that already there were more than 200 patients undertaking naltrexone treatment with Next Step and that the clinical trials would ensure that this treatment was developed to the best advantage.

    Media contacts: Owen Cole: 9481 7810
    Mark Thompson: 9213 6600