Access the IOAD link above to find an activity, get resources or make a donation. On the main page just under a couple of videos, we read;
International Overdose Awareness Day is a global event held on 31 August each year and aims to raise awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma of a drug-related death. It also acknowledges the grief felt by families and friends remembering those who have died or had a permanent injury as a result of drug overdose.
International Overdose Awareness Day spreads the message that the tragedy of overdose death is preventable.
Thousands of people die each year from drug overdose. They come from all walks of life.
Do you recognise the signs and symptoms of overdose? What is the impact of drug use and overdose on family, friends and those experiencing it?
These videos include people affected by the impact of drugs use and overdose who share some of their stories.
Cherie Short’s son Aaron died of a drug overdose in 2015. She tells Jon Faine we need to change drug policy and “make humane decisions” to stop others from dying.
“This tragedy is preventable, I believe overdose is preventable,” she said.
Ms Short is joined by Kayla Caccaviello, who dated Aaron and has overcome her own addiction to drugs to become a drug and alcohol counsellor.
The interview is titled “Humane drug policy could have saved my son”: Mum
Activities for this year globally and across every state in Australia can be accessed on this page. Fortunately Australia is second from the top and easy to access. But of course please use the drop down menu for fast access to the area of your choice. Australia has 79 activities with 48 in Victoria, 11 in NSW, 7 in WA, 4 in QLD and TAS, 3 in NT and 2 in ACT.
Activities are varied ranging from O.D. prevention training, to art display, to group naloxone (opioid antidote) training, to afternoon tea – followed by naloxone training and a free kit, remembrance events to de-stigmatise overdose, etc.
Australia has only two supervised injecting centres. One, the MSIC in Kings Cross Sydney opened in May 2001 and after more than 11 years of successful trial moved to permanent basis. The MSIC in Richmond, Melbourne commenced on a trial basis at the beginning of 2018. Whilst it is running successfully and saving lives daily the entire concept is a punching bag for conservative politicians.
Regrettably whilst it is easy to manufacture the illusion of government funded drug induced harm and negative community appearances the peer reviewed evidence, globally, supports the health benefits of Safe Injecting Facilities. Always be aware of the myth of a Drug Free Australia.
This notion is pushed on the back of pseudoscience, the rejection of peer reviewed evidence and moral panic. You can read up on the antics of Drug Free Australia Ltd via their tag here.
Evidence backed themes that are often presented on IOAD support the fact that prohibition and the “war on drugs” waste money, ruin and cost lives. Harm minimisation practices such as harm reduction approaches like needle exchange and injecting facilities, prevent overdose, the spread of blood borne diseases and community dysfunction.
Evidence supports harm minimisation and particularly harm reduction.
A constant concern for those who need adequate pain management via prescription, is that the “war on drugs” mentality may permeate policy modification under the belief it is a sensible solution. Once again the political conservative gravitates to this mode of moral dictation.
Overseas activity suggests that those who are denied prescription medication for prolonged pain management may find their way to illicit opioid abuse and inherit all the problems of crime, disease, socioeconomic stress and violence that come with such abuse.
We must yet again be careful that in managing this emerging problem we do not allow the denial of rights and an ignorance of incumbent facts such that we see punishment and manipulation of those in need.
Less than a month after Sydney coroner Mary Jerrum referred a provider of naltrexone implants to the NSW Health Care Complaints Commission, the Christian Democrats’ Reverend Fred Nile revealed he wants them used as compulsory treatment for opioid addicts.
Naltrexone implants are not backed by any convincing evidence but the rapid opioid detoxification [ROD], opioid blocking properties they offer appeal greatly to anti-drug crusading Christian evangelists. Long opposed to harm reduction measures and evidence based treatment of addiction, such as methadone maintenance, far right Christians and conservatives see naltrexone implants as a moral masterstroke. Muscling into the action in recent years are the profit-focused, such as Sydney’s Ross Colquhoun, director of Psych ‘n’ Soul.
I’ve previously written about Dr. Stuart Reece, who features in the video below with the same title as this post. His abuse of patients with naltrexone and Jesus saw 25 of them die in 20 months. His career is the epitome of callous faith based pseudoscience which uniquely targets evidence based harm reduction measures. When I posted on a faux “research” paper he had co-authored with other members of Drug Free Australia, I referred to an exchange on an email list hosted by the Alcohol and Drug Council of Australia. It was on this list years ago that I first read Ross Colquhoun defend naltrexone implants as “common sense”. Indeed his evidence free defence of implants led me to conclude that his “common sense” was the equivalent of the religious zealots’ “belief”.
Both individuals are signatories to Drug Free Australia’s so-called position statement which includes funding of naltrexone implants as an “urgent pro-active change to our illicit drug policies”.
Handing down scathing findings into three deaths, the coroner recommended that the HCCC consider proceedings against a doctor working at Colquhoun’s Pysch ‘n’ Soul, Dr. Jassim Daood. According to the ABC she noted, “a number of disciplinary cases have already been completed about some of the clinic’s other staff”. The scale of potential problems becomes clear when one considers the implants have never been approved for use, eager staff have little or no training and post-implant support regimes are entirely absent. For over a decade these implants have been available via the TGA’s Special Access Scheme, which is designed to allow patients access to otherwise unavailable drugs to treat conditions deemed potentially fatal in the absence of that drug.
In this case the Scheme is being exploited as a loophole whilst the implant option itself has left in it’s wake a litany of failure and fatalities. Colquhoun is unlicenced to perform ROD but ignored requests from the NSW Health Department in mid 2010. SMH wrote on October 20:
Despite this direction, Colquhoun resumed the treatments while still unlicensed between July and September of that year, only desisting when Grace Yates, a 23-year-old with a five-month-old baby, was given ROD and naltrexone at the clinic on September 29, 2010. She suffered a heart attack and died two months later, having never regained consciousness.
It’s worth considering this failed treatment option is likely to be expanded under a coalition government. As health minister in the Howard Government, Tony Abbott provided the funding for the launch of the evangelical Drug Free Australia from the Tough on Drugs/Assets of Crime kitty. Describing themselves as “Australia’s Peak Drugs Body” they failed to meet the conditions of the funding, choosing instead to sabotage related health policy basics. Without doubt they have proven to be to addiction treatment what the Australian (anti) Vaccination Network is to the management of vaccine preventable disease.
Abbott also sent $50,000 they way of Psych ‘n’ Soul in the same year, showing exceptionally poor judgement. There is little doubt with enemies of Harm Minimisation such as Bronwyn Bishop, Sophie Mirabella and Christopher Pyne on his proposed front bench, Australia’s strong evidence based approach to addiction management would suffer. As the coroner noted:
It appears that a patient only had to present at the clinic to be enthusiastically recommended for rapid opioid detoxification, no matter what their history or situation, without alternatives being discussed or considered or any information given out of the risks involved.
Another death related to the attempts at ROD Psych ‘n’ Soul is now infamous for, involved Michael Poole, 48. He was described as “delirious and delusional” after ROD and died at the Prince of Wales Hospital in Sydney two days later. The third death involved James Unicomb, 23 who died from drug toxicity following a poly-drug overdose, which followed the ROD and occurred whilst an implant remained active. This lack of appropriate follow up of patients is perhaps the most appalling failure related to the practice of ROD and implants.
Rapid detox’ doesn’t treat addiction. It removes cravings and leaves patients open to the possibility of overdose. Often they are dependent upon high doses of benzodiazapines which raises the risk of opioid induced respiratory depression. As addiction is not treated, behaviour cannot be expected to change. It is for this reason follow up should form the most important aspect of rapid detoxification. It is for the same reason that implants have such a high failure rate in “curing” addiction.
One can only imagine the profit made and moral crusading accomplished from treating now dead addicts who were essentially exploited, not treated. Of course, testimonials abound. Whether it’s those who adore Reece for showing them the way to Jesus or Colquhoun’s (third time lucky) performer in the below video, let’s not kid ourselves. The dead cannot speak.
Alex Wodak, director of Sydney’s St. Vincents Hospital Alcohol and Drug Service observed:
How they are allowed to be used for routine purposes in several states in this country beats me. It goes against all the normal regulations and I think the only explanation I can understand is that this is allowed in this case because they’re only drug addicts. […] We really need a national independent inquiry into the regulatory failure, the serious regulatory failure that’s gone on with Naltrexone implants for over a decade.
Indeed we do.
Naltrexone implants backed by zealotry but not evidence
When God came to visit Margaret Court as she scrubbed the dishes one night and told her to “go forth” and set up a church one could guess it would all end in tears one day.
A woman of incredulous beliefs, hypocrisy, charlatanism and greed she preaches a destructive supernatural creed that is considered heresy by mainstream Christendom. It is quite true that Margaret Court persecutes minority groups with the God given “love” she has for them.
Single mothers, drug users, Muslims, non Liberal voters and homosexuals all cop a holy spray. It’s no secret that protestors are at the Australian Open today to peacefully voice what is really long overdue opposition to one of Australia’s most legendary bigots. Although the claim is being made that she doesn’t cash in on her past life in tennis the truth is that she does.
One of the creepiest is messing with young school kids minds by handing out imitation Wimbledon trophy trays to those judged by the group of which she is patron, Creationist lobbyists, Drug Free Australia to have the most biblical anti-drug message. That they are anti-equality, anti-safe sex and safe drug use hence a threat to public health is a message students aren’t told.
Margaret’s journey from tennis “legend”, to psychological wreck to auditory hallucination as Jesus’ private interlocutor had been striking. Plunged to the depths of depression when adoring cheers were finally silenced Margaret could see no way forward. As psychosis lapped at the edges of her consciousness and she lay bedridden with a broken mind, Margaret made a life changing decision. She found a bible and read it from front to back, believing every word.
At about the same time Margaret was claiming she had a torn heart valve. She got hold of an anatomy book, opened it at the page depicting a heart and laid it on the hallway table. Every time she passed she willed herself with the healing power of God that this was her “perfect heart”. Not long after she reported a miraculously repaired heart valve.
Clearly, no longer in Kansas so to speak, Margaret needed help. Proper, long term clinical help. It never came. Exactly what role was played by husband Barry in creating the new Margaret Court is not clear. I have every sympathy for a chap who believed his wife was spiritually touched after such a gruesome ordeal. However the quality of associates she now chose to further her “instructions” left much to be desired.
Margaret knocked over her bible “studies” in about a year at Rhema Bible College, thus becomming a pastor. Next a hefty payment to Oral Roberts University provided her with a dodgy doctorate as a Word of Faith adherent. Word of Faith attracts extreme condemnation from mainstream Christians as it teaches accumulation of material goods and wealth is itself a path to enlightenment: Economic Materialism. Kenneth Copeland and Kenneth Hagin are well known Word of Faith profiteers.
It’s a blend of Christian Science, New Age Mysticism, Christianity and Gnosticism. Its basic foundation is that it deifies humans and diminishes God. Word of Faith practitioners believe they wield the power of God through speech – hence the name – and that God must serve them:
And they believe that they have the same power as God, to create and destroy by speaking using “the Word of Faith.” And with their prosperity doctrine, they believe that their pleasures should be filled and they should be served by God on earth (making them gods on earth).
Court herself has dangled this threat of speaking destruction to punish Australia for failing to re-elect John Howard through united prayer in 2007. In a rare moment of lucidity, Court graciously admitted it was just a reminder and when it came to unleashing Divine Power through speech, “He (God) is Sovereign”.
Yet by this time Court was a fierce Christian Zionist, enemy of Islam and close friend of Danny Nalliah from Catch The Fire Ministries. Danny is well known for blaming the February 2009 Black Saturday bush fires on divine punishment for the decriminalisation of abortion in Victoria, and for his personal visit from Jesus to confirm Howard would win the 2007 election.
This man stood up for the Body of Christ♠ against the vilification law; he was persecuted by many in the Body of Christ for his stand, but he pushed through for you and me so that we still have that freedom to openly share Jesus Christ.
From the Prophetic office♣ he gave direction to the Church for our Nation, but the church did not take heed to what he had said – that the Body of Christ unite in prayer and action. (2 Chronicles 7:14)
I believe we are at a very pivotal time for our nation and for the church.
We had righteous leaders in Mr Howard and Mr Costello and how much easier it is for the church to fulfill the destiny spiritually when you have God fearing men at the top leading a Nation. Now you have a Prime Minister who says, “that public servants will advise me, not God” to lead our Nation. (Release: Southern Cross Broadcasting in Melbourne, Nov 30 2007)
I was praying and God showed me we have allowed a religious spirit to come back over our Nation. God always gives me Numbers 14 for this Nation where Moses repented on behalf of the people; we need to repent on behalf of the church. The government of this nation is on our shoulders (Isaiah 9:6) – we govern in the spirit; but a lot of the church is looking at man instead of God (Matthew 6:24-33)
I love the body of Christ; what a powerful army when we stand united together in prayer and Word. Let’s stand together for God to manifest Himself; believing and proclaiming that we are a righteous Nation, a God-fearing Nation and that His hand is on our Nation.
♠ – The “Body of Christ” is a term for collective Christians. ♣ – The “Prophetic Office” is the term used to describe a personal visit with Jesus or God.
Word of Faithers also deny a belief in The Trinity and the traditional story of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. Probably finalised by Kenneth Hagin their story of Jesus’ demise is that he was crucified and died. From there he went to hell and was tortured by demons. A bit of a whimp he yelled and screamed for help until the arch–angel Gabriel swooped into hell, defeated the demons and saved Jesus’ skin.
All offences together have earned them the dubious honour of being known as heretics throughout Christendom. Their misinterpretation of the bible is legendary. Court recently said that same sex marriage would, “legitimise what God calls abominable sexual practices”.
This is utter nonsense. She is referring to Leviticus, chapter 18 verse 22:
You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination
We know that the book of Leviticus could not have been “written by Moses” as the defence goes. And as a defence it is demonstrably absurd noting that Moses was big on genocide, slavery and the kidnapping of virgins. Whilst the origin of some material is lost in antiquity the notion of the book as “written by Moses” began sometime in the 1st century. Leviticus itself continued to be modified up until around 540-330 BCE.
This is the Persian Era and may offer some insight into why the final book is a strict book of complex rules, much like Sharia law. I’m not suggesting it is Islamic, merely that the notion of rules instructing humans in the manner of living was popular in the middle east for centuries. Leviticus is 27 chapters of rules on festivals, eating, sacrifice, sexual behaviour, cleanliness, judgement and more.
Scholars are quick to point out that the tribes-people who wrote chapter 18 on sexual behaviour were known to use male anal rape as a means in war and of civilised punishment. Homosexuality was also accepted and legal. Not only is the meaning of Leviticus 18:22 lost in translation and time, a glaring absence is that of reference to gay women.
Thus it is not an instruction forbidding homosexuality. The most widely accepted definition is that it pertains to procreation. The word “abomination” in this sense relies upon it’s meaning as a violation of law. A violation of the tribal rule (necessity) to procreate. This was the explanation I heard, with references, in a lecture from a real biblical scholar and I give it credence over that of a megalomaniac and bigot like Margaret Court.
Today Court runs Victory Life Centre in Perth piping TVangelism to over 30 South East Asian locations, making the proverbial fortune. Still patron of Drug Free Australia she may be proud that they have caused enormous damage to children, families, education, public health and illicit drug policy. There are many reasons why this disturbed ex-tennis player should be called out for the antisocial opportunist that she is.
Giving a legitimate face to archaic homophobic views based on ignorance is something Australians should resist.
Drawing from a child indoctrinated by Drug Free Australia. The knife handle reads, “John 10:10” – The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy. I have come that they may have life and life to the full. Be Drug Free And You Will Be With Me, says God (top right).
As a follow up to fundamentalist Drug Free Australia’s attack on Insite and individual research scientists we meet co-author and faith healer, Dr. Albert Stuart Reece
An interesting story sits hidden away in the June 2003 edition of Focus magazine – a QLD based fundamentalist Christian publication.
On page one we meet Graham Preston who was jailed back in June 2003 for pro-life antics. His sole direction was Proverbs 24, verse 11: “Rescue those being led away to death”.
The story on page two is about Drug Free Australia member, Dr. Stuart Reece (below). Thinking of the above proverb, it is disturbing to learn that over a period of twenty months, twenty five opioid dependent patients who sought his care, died following insertion of unregistered naltrexone implants.
In a 2013 position statement on naltrexone implants the Royal Australasian College of Physicians stated on page 6:
The World Health Organisation, UNODC (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime) and UNAIDS (United Nations Program on AIDs/HIV) have endorsed treatment with methadone and buprenorphine. The World Health Organisation has included methadone and buprenorphine in its Essential Medicines List. Naltrexone has not been endorsed by any United Nations organisations nor is it included on the Essential Medicines List. […] The RACP does not support the routine use of sustained release naltrexone formulations (implants or depot injections) while the product is not registered with the TGA.
In 2003 when the Health Practitioners Tribunal adjourned Reece’s case indefinitely, such implants were available through the TGA Special Access Scheme. This 2008 article posing the question of safety, examines implications of the scheme and difficulty in securing sound data. The authors note:
The strong theoretical rationale for the usefulness of naltrexone in treating heroin dependence justifies further rigorous investigations. However, the uncontrolled use of unregistered products of uncertain quality hampers the development of proper clinical trials.
Above, we read that Reece was “deeply hurt” by the investigation that followed. The families of his dead patients are not considered. Incredibly, the above Focus article claims that the charges brought against Reece were “based on false reports by drug addicts”. No evidence is presented in support of this statement. No independent source has confirmed the existence of false reports. Brought by QLD Health, the charges were just and likely saved lives.
There’s a familiar, yet awkward tactic advanced in his defence. The type of logical fallacy that suggests if positive feedback is presented then to suggest otherwise is not only wrong but “false”. Someone has provided the Focus author with decontextualised data designed to be critical of methadone maintenance therapy. This argument is frequently used by the opponents of harm reduction and proponents of naltrexone. We read “590 patients died with methadone in their system”. It’s an underhanded attempt to suggest methadone was the cause of death. Note this doesn’t read, “died because of methadone overdose or complications”.
We don’t know the cause of death, but I’m certain if methadone was the cause this article would have made it abundantly clear. These figures are pulled from toxicity data in coroners reports. They include hospital patients receiving palliative care, out-patients receiving pain relief, road fatalities, suicides, homicides, poly-drug related deaths and so on. Methadone is one of the safest opioid addiction therapies available. With strict doses dispensed daily under direct supervision of pharmacists, fatalities are unheard of in its correct application as a treatment.
I can’t comment much on a reference to a “recently published article” without the source, other than to note that rapid detoxification is high risk. It has a poor record in managing the complex dynamics of addiction. Clients who go through the long steady wean from opioids, accompanied with counselling learn to move away from their old habits, rebuild their lives and accept the damage their disease can cause. Patients who follow the naltrexone path need enormous support. Having suddenly lost cravings, in no way addresses the lifestyle factors or reasons for use. If relapsed, a low tolerance poses a high risk of overdose, at times with a tragic outcome.
In attacking an evidence-based addition treatment, Reece indicates his aim was never about adding to the rehabilitation arsenal. It was about a personal vendetta over old funding disagreements and his religious conviction that certain policies are immoral. A read of Dr. Reece’s articles in the “glorified blog” Journal of Global Drug Policy and Practice is revealling. Purporting that methadone causes premature ageing and cell death, without presenting a mechanism and correcting for other variables is poor science. In the above Focus article this is presented, without a source, as “new research suggests”.
The Focus article was in error to claim vindication. The QLD Health Practitioners Tribunal adjourned indefinitely over the twenty five deaths. It was beyond ambitious for Reece to claim, before a Parliamentary inquiry, to “hold the world safety record” in administering this very treatment. Such comments have little to do with supporting evidence, and more to do with misinformation.
By 1999 Australia knew naltrexone was potentially unsafe despite seemingly miraculous stories of recovery. An opiate blocker, it was emerging with promise. Yet controlled trials were lacking. Wodak and Hall discussed the evidence in an editorial in the MJA, that also briefly noted the role of the media in confusing community attitudes. Stuart Reece would never forget this and has “blamed” not only these scientists but projected responsibility for his conduct onto these very individuals. Under Parliamentary protection Dr. Reece accused Hall of “scientific fraud”.
In September 1999 the practice of Dr. Stuart Reece was raided following concerns with his approach to addiction treatment. Threatened with closure he claimed that the QLD government would have blood on itʼs hands if he could not resume practise. Ultimately, he was not closed. Twenty months later, 25 of his patients were dead. ABC 7:30 reported on 4 June 2001.
KERRY O’BRIEN: When the anti-heroin addiction drug Naltrexone was introduced to Australia five years ago, it was hailed as a breakthrough.
Since then, thousands of addicts have been treated with Naltrexone, successfully breaking their deadly habit.
But despite initial expectations it hasn’t proved to be a universal remedy by any means.
Many addicts have lapsed back into heroin abuse and some have subsequently died from overdose.
In Queensland, an investigation is now under way into the practice of Naltrexone activist Dr Stuart Reece, after the deaths of 25 addicts who had undergone his program.
The investigation has already prompted a ban on the use of experimental Naltrexone implants, designed to take the place of tablets.
All had followed the Reece regimen. He was raided by the QLD Medical Board and again closed down. Rev. Fred Nile, speaking as leader of the Christian Democratic Party said at the time:
The action taken by Queensland Health is heavy handed intimidation against those who show true compassion toward heroin addicts. It would appear, by this move, that Queensland Health would prefer that addicts remain addicted to heroin. I fear that this is another step in the mounting campaign for government provided free heroin
Three months he claimed twenty five “drug addicts” died as “part of a conspiracy”, ABC featured Reece on their Sunday Nights programme:
Stuart Reece is a Brisbane doctor who finds himself in a bit of bother some of his fellow medico’s at the moment because of his conviction that faith can be instrumental in curing what ails one… The difference perhaps is that Stuart Reece is a born again Christian believer, and makes no apologies for his direct appeal to the Christian Gospel and the power of Christ.
Clearly, the largely untested naltrexone failed. Had basic support, such as a contact or counselling been available, the recovering patients would have been more safely monitored. It is regrettable that there was undue faith in naltrexone combined with a moral objection to opiate replacement therapy. This is complicated further, in that had naltrexone been demonstrated as effective, financial rewards would have been significant.
In addition, the November 2009 Health Practitioners Tribunal transcript, Medical Board of QLD vs Albert Stuart Reece makes for compelling reading. An unrepentant critic of methadone Reece chose to illegally supply opioid dependent patients with morphine. The transcript includes:
It is clear from his evidence before the Tribunal that he is also very passionate about his practice and in strong disagreement about the continued use of Methadone as a treatment for heroin addiction. […]
Particulars of the referral notice in this matter are that the Registrant on 39 separate occasions supplied Morphine intended for use by drug dependent persons without obtaining approval from the Drugs of Dependence Unit in preparation either for Naltrexone treatment or other detoxification treatment. […]
He admits to doing so and to falsifying medical records when doing so and involving third parties in this conduct. […]
But it is also clear from his evidence, and as I’ve already said that he’s a man who has a somewhat evangelical approach to this area of medicine and because of that he does appear to lack a degree of insight and objectivity in relation to the treatment of his patients. Furthermore, he seems to feel that the ends justify the means in terms of treatment of patients.
In October 2005 Christian conservative MP Tony Abbott Liberal (then Federal Health Minister) funded Drug Free Australia to the tune of $600,000. They did not adhere to conditions under which they were awarded the funding, ultimately emerging as right wing lobbyists. They are followers of Swedenʼs zero tolerance policy and the USA hardliners [open letter]. Reece, a supporter of biblically driven abstinence and a Texas trained fundamentalist, was supported by Drug Free Australia.
By April 2007 Dr. Reece was testifying to a Parliamentary Inquiry that the immoral policies that permitted condoms – the real cause behind AIDS – clean needles, opioid therapy for addicts, non-punitive cannabis laws, harm reduction and general tolerance for ill Aussies would be our doom. The Senate Standing Committee looked on as Reece introduced himself by saying, “I certainly know the science”. He then displayed a photo of “the archaeological site of Sodom” and a tree with snakes instead of branches. [Page 33/FHS 27]. He explained its relevance. “There will be consequences”.
Reece attempted to explain the moral consequences of policies such as Harm Minimisation, by blaming a tsunami on Divine punishment. He added:
I was interested to discover that the actual historical site of Sodom and Gomorrah has recently been found in Israel. On the bottom right of this slide are pictures of sulphur balls that have been found there. So consequences matter, and they can destroy a civilisation quickly, as we saw with yesterday’s tsunami and so on.
This slide shows a tree with snakes, which to my mind is a lot of the stories that you hear from harm minimisation. Methadone, syringe giveaways, injectingrooms, medical cannabis, heroin trials all those are catered for by the same people. But, on the other side of the tree, you have all the downsides, the side effects, which are not talked about in this culture. It is of extreme concern to me that medical science which is known and understood overseas is not understood and not talked about and given no airplay whatsoever in this culture.
These are old slides I made several years ago, charting a lot of these behaviours: this is condoms and the AIDS risk, charting the parallel between condoms and AIDS deaths.
Ms GEORGE (Senate committee member): Sorry, I do not understand. What are you saying – condom protection andAIDS deaths are correlated?
Dr Reece: Yes, condom sales and AIDS deaths. I am saying that there is a statistical association between the two.
As reported in Crikey by Ray Moynihan Reece decided the “disease drugs, sex and rock-n-roll” was the problem. Asked about the safety of naltrexone, Dr. Reece chose instead to attack internationally renowned scientist, Dr. Alex Wodak [Page 59/FHS54], who specialiseʼs in blood born viruses and epidemiology. Put differently, this means Wodak supports condoms, clean syringe access and used syringe collection: dire threats to our very civilisation, contended Reece. Yet Australian communities with dozens of dispensaries and hundreds of clients report no methadone deaths.
How did Committee Chairperson react to this? Bronwyn Bishop abused public health scientists (who had outlined the success of decriminalisation in Europe), yet she gushed in support of Dr. Reece. A pre-determined agenda in what was billed as the most important family-relevant inquiry of Howardʼs government spoke volumes. Bishop’s final report was rejected nationwide by all but religious fundamentalists and Christian lobbyists. Not one publically funded treatment or advocacy agency missed the opportunity to criticise the report. Bishop went on to call for the removal, and adopting out, of children from parents struggling with addiction. Should parents conquer their addiction there would be no chance of reunion:
Their [Liberal-led House of Representatives] controversial plan – which also includes compulsory treatment for teenage addicts, restrictions on methadone programs and withdrawing funding from drug programs that promote harm minimisation – was dismissed as “a disgrace” and “frightening” by some anti-drug campaigners.
Gordon Moyes, our “Christian voice in politics” is also quoted on rumours in Drug Free Australia’s recent attack upon Lancet authors, of which Reece is a co-author. This involves quoting Moyes, who is quoting drug addicts he happened to speak to. Moyes also praised naltrexone despite the grave concerns of our medical community about it remaining unregulated. Regrettably, regulators have not prevented its use by the same people year in, year out.
When the Medical Journal of Australia exposed the fact these same prescribers were not reporting adverse reactions, despite TGA requirements under the Special Access Scheme, Drug Free Australia published a rebuttal. It made direct reference to Dr. Stuart Reece himself. Offensively, it reported that Reece “studies” death rates post naltrexone treatment. It was titled, Australia could be the biggest loser.
Dr. Reeceʼs motivation is reflected in his obsession with teenage and childhood sex and sexual assault, murder, violence… all due to “the depraved advertising industry” which catalysed “the disease sex, drugs and rock-n-roll”. Advertising womenʼs nudity, outside of “a strictly medical context” is “incredibly powerful pornography.”
Today, a decade plus since this evidence-free pursuit began, Reece is arguably a pin up boy for religious fundamentalism. Five or more years ago he promised Parliament with a blinding flash of Peacock Terminology that his results were “statistically powerful” and “revolutionary”. Of course, there are no results. Itʼs the same certainty that only faith can sustain. If prayer cures homosexuality, addiction is a certainty. His latest work “proves” naltrexone is safer than opioid therapy.
As reported on ABCʼs 7:30 Report, in 2006 multiple disciplinary teams have steadily found naltrexone has a fatality rate over four times that of opioid therapy. Dr. Reece, and others who seek funding and likely lucrative contracts seem to have a formula no others can find. More recent work with implants by his colleague, gynecologist George O’Neil, show ambiguous results, despite claims of success.
Regrettably this work is tainted with poor practice and again, Christian healing. Their biggest problem is the fraud published in the MJA surrounding suppression of negative outcomes – some almost fatal. Failure and coercion to boost sample numbers seems to be the norm. W.A.’s Freshstart clinic observes on its sites chaplaincy page:
Our Christian Beliefs
The Nature and Character of God: we believe in one God, who has existed forever as Father, Son and Holy Spirit in a community of pure and eternal love.
The Fresh Start Statement of Belief embodies the second of the core commitments of the organisation:
The Creation of Humanity: men and women were created in God’s likeness with God-given dignity and worth in order to know, love and serve him forever.
Sin and Evil: sin came into existence through human rebellion against the good purposes of God. Sin is self-centred opposition to the love of God that separates humans from God and leads to death and eternal lostness.
There is no problem with having a strong faith. Yet there’s a difference between faith based welfare and faith based practices. When the supernatural impinges on your objective reasoning in managing the lives of others, no amount of friendly lobbyists can assuage this conflict of interest.
Today, Stuart Reece’s bizarre conduct runs up quite a litany. Drug Free Australia bill him as “an expert in naltrexone” and in fatalities. Is this a joke? I honestly don’t know. What’s certain however is that his role in the recent DFA misleading outing to attack Vancouver’s Insite and the research backing it is not based upon any skill in harm reduction.
Drug Free Australia have many secrets. This one is quite shameful.
Comments posted online from a relative and a friend of Reeceʼs patients.
Just Jules says: June 5, 2010 at 6:01 am Ahhh there is none so blind as those who can not see .. Dr Reece in my eyes is a discusting (sic) human being .. I am the mother of a child he treated .. He also treated my daughter in law and the mother of my first grand child .. If you want to see what his methods leave you with, go see my daughter in law who for the last 11 years has been in a home for the severely brain damaged .. In is own words to me ” they are just reoffending drug addicts”. He is a wolf in sheeps clothing and should of been stopped before he started.
Vicki PS says: July 5, 2010 at 12:02 pm I came across this site looking for help for a friend of my daughterʼs. This young woman has been increasingly unhappy with her treatment under Dr Reece. He is treating her addiction with Suboxone, a subutex/naltrexone combination drug. Her big concern is that this unethical, immoral disgrace to the profession reduces her dosage if she has not been to church! This girl is now in early pregnancy and is scared that she could miscarry if this idiot messes around with her medication to suit his pathological world view. I find it frankly incredible that Dr Reece is still permitted to practice.