RACP: Government should heed the evidence

This Royal Australasian College of Physicians statement is in response to comments that Social Services Minister Christian Porter made to Fairfax Media yesterday.

The following can be attributed to A/Prof Adrian Reynolds:

Testing 5,000 people for a small number of illicit drugs is not going to solve the problem that over 200,000 people with drug and alcohol addiction issues are not able to access treatment. We repeat our call that this is where the focus needs to be. Conflating issues as different as childhood vaccination and addiction confuses two very distinct and very important public health issues. ​View an accurate summary of the RACP's position on the No Jab, No Pay issue

The RACP's statement on the No Jab, No Pay issue was in the context that welfare penalties would not have any impact on, often wealthy, vaccine refusers. Our concern was that there needed to be more support for people who face practical, economic, social and geographic hurdles to getting their children vaccinated.

Addressing a problem such as addiction which is complex and deeply connected to many other issues including mental health, trauma and poverty, is very different to mechanisms to encourage people to undertake a single intervention such as an immunisation.

On the issue of the drug testing trial, the RACP stands by its submission and the view that we presented on public record. Effective treatment for drug addiction needs to be in a collaborative and supportive model.

We urge the Government to take notice of the evidence in this space on what works and what doesn’t work. We encourage members of Parliament to reject this legislation when asked to vote on it
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