• Demand for Australian opium is soaring with research from the World Health Organisation indicating 5.5 billion people have little or no access to opioid pain relief.
• The Baird Government has been criticized for recently regulating the practice of eyeball tattooing, as the New South Wales Opposition calls for a ban on the procedure.
• Treating patients in their homes can be a safer and significantly cheaper alternative to hospital care, a report found by the University of Western Sydney’s Centre for Health Research, potentially saving state and federal governments tens of millions of dollars annually.
News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 24th February 2016. Read by Rebecca Foster. Health News
Demand for Australian opium is soaring with research from the World Health Organisation indicating 5.5 billion people have little or no access to opioid pain relief.
In light of huge global demand, major poppy processing companies in Australia are pushing for more states to legalise the cultivation of opium in addition to Tasmania and some parts of Victoria.
Australian owned TPI Enterprises said the regulations for the cultivation of poppies in South Australia would be finalised by June–July 2016.
CEO Jarrod Ritchie said South Australians were likely to have pain relief made from poppies grown in the state, within the next two years.
“We’ll be planting in 2017, harvesting in 2018, so they could have product on their shelves towards the end of 2018,” he said.
According to the company, Australia processes 50 per cent of the world’s raw legal narcotics.
“We see enormous growth, even if we just maintain 50 per cent,” Mr Ritchie said.
“There’s an enormous unmet demand … Australia as the dominant player will take the lion share of that growth.”
Mr Ritchie said TPI’s technology platform puts the company in a strong position.
“We will be the dominant player in the Australian industry,” he said.
Professor of Pharmacy at the University of South Australia Libby Roughead said Australian opioid consumption had increased drastically over the last decade.
“Some of that increased uptake is appropriate use for people with chronic pain,” she said.
“But some of it is likely now to be too much opioid [use] when there might be safer alternatives.”
Professor Roughead said the cultivation of Australian narcotics should be considered in a broader social context.
“You’ve got this good news story about an opportunity for South Australian farmers,” she said.
“At the same time you’ve got the other side.
“How do we, as a society then, once we’ve got these good products, make sure that they’re used well?”
The Baird Government has been criticised for recently regulating the practice of eyeball tattooing, as the New South Wales Opposition calls for a ban on the procedure.
The Opposition said the tattooing, also known as eyeball inking, was effectively legalised when it was included in a number of health amendments enacted last Friday.
The amendment declares that “eyeball tattooing, tongue piercing and tongue tattooing are skin penetration procedures”.
The procedure involves injecting the whites of the eyes, or sclera, with coloured dye or dyes
Health Minister Jillian Skinner said, in general, procedures involving body piercing needed to be covered by regulation, but that a ban on eyeball inking for cosmetic reasons was now on the cards.
“I’ve sought advice as to whether there are any legitimate medical reasons for eyeball tattooing and if there are not then I will consider measures to ban the practice,” she said.
One website offering the procedure points to the dangers of the procedure, stating “yes, people are now blind from eyeball tattooing”.
Treating patients in their homes can be a safer and significantly cheaper alternative to hospital care, a report has found, potentially saving state and federal governments tens of millions of dollars annually.
The paper by the University of Western Sydney’s Centre for Health Research found home-based health care improved patient satisfaction and quality of life while reducing hospital readmission rates.
In some cases it was also associated with a 20 per cent lower mortality rate.
“For the right patient and the right context it provides a better form of health care and it’s cheaper,” lead researcher Andrew Page said.
The research noted home-based dialysis saved governments up to $37,000 per patient, each year.
In New South Wales alone, that equates to an annual saving of as much as $60 million.