Rhonda Parker

Rhonda Parker


    WA pharmacists to put their money behind a foundation to address drug abuse problem

    18/11/1999 9:50 AM


    Western Australian community pharmacists are to put not only their weight, but their money behind a foundation to help address the State’s drug abuse problem.

    The WA branch of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia is finalising the formation of the Pharmacy Foundation of Australia, which will support a range of drug abuse and harm reduction initiatives.

    Guild Vice-President Ian Crawford said today that the foundation proposal, which is included in the latest WA Strategy Against Drug Abuse Action Plan, Together Against Drugs, is enthusiastically supported by Guild members.

    Foundation funds would be raised from a proportion of sales of fitpacks (syringe packs) sold to injecting drug users through pharmacies.

    Mr Crawford said the 50 cent levy would be borne by pharmacists and not passed onto customers, and it was estimated that about $150,000 would be raised each year to support initiatives.

    “Our first planned project would be to focus on reducing the incidence of opiate overdose deaths by encouraging drug users to call an ambulance, through the provision of a free ambulance service,” he said.

    Mr Crawford said Guild members supported the concept of the foundation because it sought to produce better health outcomes within the community.

    “The foundation would initiate programs that would directly benefit those most in need,” he said.

    “One way of doing this would be to use the existing network of community pharmacists who witnesses health problems daily.”
    “The foundation will be an independent organisation able to act quickly in areas of drug addiction, drug overdose, and drug treatment.”

    The Minister Responsible for WA Drug Abuse Strategy, Rhonda Parker, applauded the Guild’s efforts to maintain its lead role in helping prevent and reduce drug abuse in the community.

    “The foundation’s plan to forge a partnership with the community pharmacy network and suppliers of health care and education, would build on the prominent role of community pharmacy in the WA Strategy Against Drug Abuse,” Mrs Parker said.

    “Community pharmacy has already demonstrated their commitment and initiative in developing the Drug Aware pharmacy program.”

    The Guild was represented on the Opiate Overdose Strategy Group convened by WA Drug Abuse Strategy Office, and had been involved in a number of overdose prevention initiatives implemented by the group.

    The Guild had met with WADASO on a number of occasions to discuss new ways in which the profession could build on the success of the Drug Aware Pharmacy Project and involve pharmacists more directly in prevention and harm reduction initiatives.

    The State Government has contributed $50,000 to the foundation.

    Media contact: Owen Cole 9481 7810