The Health News – 8 March 2017

• South Australian Network of Drug and Alcohol Services has warned that crystal methamphetamine has become much purer, thus, increasing the potential harm for illegal drug users.y.

• Cases of Ross River virus in the Great Southern region of Western Australia have increased dramatically, following widespread rainfall and flooding. Currently, there is no vaccine for mosquito-borne diseases in WA.

• An investigation on the Makk and McLeay Nursing Home at Oakden has been launched to find out what happened to a former patient, Bob Spriggs, who complained last year about his over medication and unexplained bruises.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the  8th of March 2017. Read by Rebecca Foster. Health News

The rising purity of crystal methamphetamine is increasing the potential harm for illegal drug users, the South Australian Network of Drug and Alcohol Services has warned.

“One of the things that’s happened with crystal methamphetamine over the last couple of years is that it’s become much purer, so people are taking a much higher dose,” the network’s executive officer Michael White said.

“People aren’t getting the message that what they’re buying in the street is not necessarily the same strength every time they use it, and that’s where we see the harm.”

The network represents 35 non-government drug rehabilitation services and was represented at … [the] first session of the South Australian Government’s newly established ice taskforce.

Mr White said crystal methamphetamine addiction took up to a year longer to overcome than other illegal drugs, a concern which was adding to the burden on rehabilitation providers.

He said he hoped the ice taskforce could make inroads in fighting the spread of methamphetamine and part of that would be by increasing the awareness of its potential harm.

SA Police Minister … said the taskforce would spend the next two months formulating clear policy which could bring about a “positive impact in reducing the proliferation of ice within our community”.

He expressed concern about data which indicated ice use had tripled over the past four years and said the taskforce would need to take a sophisticated approach to be able to achieve its objectives.

The taskforce plans to hold further sessions in southern Adelaide and at regional Murray Bridge, Whyalla and Mount Gambier.

There has been a dramatic increase in the number of cases of Ross River virus in the Great Southern region of Western Australia, following an unseasonably wet summer.

The WA Department of Health issued a warning about an increased risk of mosquito-borne diseases last month, following record rainfall and widespread flooding across the state in February.

The wet weather created ideal breeding conditions for mosquitos.

There is no vaccine or specific treatment for mosquito-borne diseases in WA, so health authorities urged people to take care to prevent being bitten.

The number of cases of Ross River virus in the Great Southern have increased more than sixfold, according to the latest WA Department of Health statistics.

An investigation into a high-dependency South Australian Government nursing home has been launched, in the wake of allegations aired on the ABC about the mistreatment of elderly residents.

The Makk and McLeay Nursing Home at Oakden has been under scrutiny after the family of former patient Bob Spriggs complained last year about his over medication and unexplained bruises — thought to have been caused by the use of restraint.

A Federal Health Department spokesperson said the Commonwealth Aged Care Quality Agency had …launched a full audit of the home.

“A review audit involves a complete review of the home’s systems against all 44 expected outcomes of the accreditation standards,” the spokesperson said.

“The department will take action to ensure the health, safety and well-being of aged care recipients if the Quality Agency decides that one or more of the Aged Care Accreditation Standards are not met.

“The health, safety and wellbeing of older people who reside in aged care services is of paramount importance to the Government.”

The nursing home looks after those with “challenging” behaviours because of disorders such as dementia.

It is not the first time the Commonwealth has intervened, in late 2007 Oakden failed 26 of the 44 accreditation standards and federal funding for new residents was suspended for six months.

Carolanne Barkla from the Aged Rights Advocacy Service said the latest investigation was welcome[d].

Oakden had been accredited by the Commonwealth until April 2019.

But the Aged Care Quality Agency visited the facility last Tuesday, the day after the ABC revealed further concerns about the home.

A leaked report by a concerned staff member warned in 2014 the facility was at risk of “human rights violations, with inappropriate use of seclusion and restraint in vulnerable persons”.

In the wake of the Spriggs case, the Government has commissioned a review but it’ll only examine the events of last year.

One doctor and two nurses have been suspended while claims are investigated.

The Federal Health Department has urged any families or friends with concerns about the care of their relatives to contact the Aged Care Complaints Commissioner on 1800 550 552.

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