Needle Hand-Out a One Way Street

16 Dec 2009 12:09 PMJann Stuckey

16 December 2009

Currumbin MP Jann Stuckey has questioned the Bligh Government’s commitment to harm prevention with news there has been a marked increase in needles being handed out from the Palm Beach Currumbin Health Centre over the last 12 months.

“A reply to a recent Question on Notice Result from the Minister for Health Mr Paul Lucas revealed the number of needles being supplied to addicts has almost doubled from the previous year,” said Ms Stuckey. 

“Whilst the total number of visits reduced from 4,095 to 4,088 between October 2007-08 and October 2008-09 the number of needles issued by the facility increased from 117,873 for the same period in 2007-08, to 211,478 in 2008-09.

“The Government not only has an obligation to encourage the safe use of needles through the program at Palm Beach, but to also provide support services, health checks, counselling and monitoring.

“Prior to the opening of this needle supply facility residents expressed their outrage that the Government decided to operate such a facility in their electorate as they feared for the negative social outcomes it could generate.

“On behalf of residents I tabled a petition to the state Government February 2007 calling for a halt to plans for the provision of this service and a promise not to introduce it in the future.

“The petition was rejected by the Bligh Government and the facility is servicing on average 314 addicts per month.

“Alarming increases in the number of needles issued from the facility over the past 12 months raises previous concerns about these facilities operating as little more than needle hand-outs rather than offering a suite of services designed to help addicts become drug free.

“Simply counting the number of needles that are handed out does nothing to address the problem.

“Drugs are a scourge on society and are responsible for the destruction of countless lives. Without proper support systems the cycle continues unabated.”

Background – Questions on Notice asked in Parliament
http://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/view/legislativeAssembly/tableOffice/documents/questionsAnswers/2009/1811-2009.pdf

http://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/view/legislativeAssembly/tableOffice/documents/questionsAnswers/2008/1776-2008.pdf

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Media Contact: Jann Stuckey 0439 755 919