Letter to the editor: ReGen response to 'honey pot' article (27/06/14)

The following is a letter submitted to The Age newspaper on 24th June 2014 and published in edited version on 27th June 2014.

It was submitted by ReGen in response to the paper's coverage of Frankston Council's concerns regarding pharmacotherapy locations.


Pharmacotherapy needs support

June 24, 2014

Yesterday’s article on Frankston Council’s fear of a ‘honey pot’ drug subculture highlights how far we still need to go to demystify and de-stigmatise drug treatment.

The ‘honey pot’ argument has been disproved time and time again. Evidence shows that drug treatment centres do not increase instances of drug dealing and criminal activity. Over 30 million needles and syringes are distributed each year to members of the public through Australia’s Needle and Syringe Programs. They have been proven to dramatically reduce the harms associated with injecting drug use and play an essential role in preventing the transmission of blood-borne viruses. These programs save the Australian health system many millions of dollars each year.

While for many in the community, the concept of supplying methadone and other opioid replacement therapies to opioid-dependent people may seem counterintuitive, it has been shown to be a cost-effective approach to improving community health, law and order and community wellbeing.

ReGen recognises the good work the Victorian Government is doing in balancing the needs of those with drug and alcohol issues with the needs of the broader community. We urge Frankston Council to remember that people with drug and alcohol issues are also part of our community, and deserve the same respect and compassion as anyone else with a health issue.

Laurence Alvis
CEO, UnitingCare ReGen