Read the highlights of key issues discussed as part of the 03-, the Extraordinary meeting and 04-2018 meeting, held on 30 August, 11 October and 2 November 2018 respectively.
AChSHM Committee Membership Changes
Dr Adrian Dunlop has been recruited to fill the casual vacancy for the NSW/ACT Branch Chair after the resignation of Dr Nghi Phung early in 2017.
2018 Work Plan
The Committee confirmed its 2018 Work Plan, which includes continuing its Policy and Advocacy efforts, leading the planning and operational delivery of the International Medicine in Addiction (IMiA) 2019 meeting, and further work advancing and defining the Chapter’s relationship with the Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and other Drugs (APSAD) through the development of a Model of Collaboration Schedule.
Education and Training
Melbourne Training Information evening
The Chapter held a successful trainee information evening at the Melbourne College office on Monday, 6 November. Following the success of the evening it is hoped that another session can be held in the second half of 2018.
Policy and Advocacy
Welfare Reform Bill
The Chapter welcomed the news that the Federal Government would no longer proceed with its plan to randomly drug test 5,000 social welfare recipients as part of its Social Services Legislation Amendment (Welfare Reform) Bill. The Chapter supported the College in advocating strongly against this element of the Bill, which would have delivered an ineffective, expensive and harmful regime that obstructed Australians struggling with addiction.
It is therefore of concern that the Federal Government is again pursing this policy, ignoring advice that the proposed welfare reforms are unlikely to achieve the Government’s policy objectives and at the same time do harm, and ignoring advice that there simply aren’t the resources within the drug and alcohol sector to provide treatment to all who may be referred.
National Alcohol Strategy 2018-26
The Chapter is working with the College’s Policy and Advocacy Unit to develop a submission in response the Australian Government’s consultation on the National Alcohol Strategy 2018-26.
The Chapter Committee welcomes the upscheduling of all over-the-counter compound analgesics containing codeine, which will now require a prescription from 1 February 2018. The Chapter has supported the College in advocating strongly in support of this change, which will eliminate uncontrolled access to these medicines and as a consequence address an important pathway into opioid dependence. A parallel challenge now exists for the medical profession in reviewing the context and clinical circumstances in which it prescribes opioid medicines in the clinical management of persistent non-cancer pain, as per the Evolve initiative.
Professor Jenny Martin, Associate Professor Yvonne Bonomo and Dr Adrian Reynolds developed a paper titled Compassion and evidence in prescribing cannabinoid: a perspective from the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, with support and guidance from the RACP Policy and Advocacy Committee and the Medicinal Cannabis Reference. The paper will be published in the Medical Journal of Australia on 19 February 2018
AChAM Narrative Statement
The Committee continued working with the College Marketing and Communications team to develop a narrative statement to articulate the purpose, role and function of the Chapter and its members. The Committee intends to finalise this narrative at its first meeting in 2018.
The next meeting will be held on Wednesday 21 Match 2018 via teleconference.
A/Prof Adrian Reynolds,
Australasian Chapter of Addiction Medicine