The News – 26 March 2015

Overview

  • Violent crime is on the rise, gangs are raking in profits and “untold” harm is being done to communities because of the increased use of the “mind-eating” drug ice, according to a national report.
  • The medical director of a company treating depressed patients with the drug ketamine has resigned amid concern from patients and psychiatrists about the clinics.
  • A newborn was mistakenly taken to the wrong mother’s room by a member of staff at St Vincent’s Private Hospital in Melbourne earlier this year, the facility’s chief executive says.



News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 26th March 2015. Read by Rebecca Foster.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-03-25/drug-ice-fuelling-violent-crime-funding-gangs-acc-report/6346594

Violent crime is on the rise, gangs are raking in profits and “untold” harm is being done to communities because of the increased use of the “mind-eating” drug ice, according to a national report.

The Australian Crime Commission’s report is the first to paint a picture of the growing crystal methylamphetamine problem across the country.
“Of all illicit drugs, the Australian Crime Commission report assessment is that methylamphetamine, and in particular the crystalised form, commonly known as ‘ice’, is the most dangerous and the highest risk to our nation,” ACC chief executive Chris Dawson said.
“Ice is causing untold harm to communities.
“Use is increasing, the purity of ice is also increasing, and we are seeing greater seizures [of the drug] — but more does need to be done.”
Mr Dawson said it is not only home-grown drug labs fuelling the spread of addiction, but the high price of the drug in Australia is leading to more international criminals sending their product to our shores.
“Up to 60 per cent of transnational and serious and organised crime groups are profiting from either the importation, manufacture or trafficking of this very dangerous drug,” he said.
He said in China a gram of ice is worth $US80, whereas Australian addicts can pay up to $US500 per gram.
“We are seeing countries from the Middle East, from China, from the Central Americas from which these crime groups are targeting Australia,” Mr Dawson said.
While there are strong concerns about the role serious and organised crime gangs play in producing the drug, the violent consequences of addiction are also cause for distress.

Federal Justice Minister Michael Keenan said the hidden nature of the illicit drug industry makes it hard to establish just how much it has grown in recent years.

Mr Dawson said responsibility in finding a solution to the growing addiction problem does not rest solely with government and law enforcement.
“[The discussion] must go right across our nation, across education, across industry, and in particular across our kitchen tables from parents to children so that people understand the addictive nature of this drug,” Mr Dawson said.
In November last year, police seized about 2.8 tonnes of illicit drugs worth an estimated $1.5 billion — the second-biggest bust in the country’s history.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-03-24/ketamine-injections-depression-aura-medical-graham-barrett-quits/6345146

The medical director of a company treating depressed patients with the drug ketamine has resigned amid concern from patients and psychiatrists about the clinics.

University of Melbourne Professor Graham Barrett …[stated] he felt there was a conflict of interest between his research work and Aura Medical’s push for profits.
The Sydney-based company started charging between $150 and $200 for ketamine injections in Melbourne and Sydney last year.
 
Ketamine was only approved by the Therapeutic Goods Authority (TGA) for use as an anaesthetic, but research has shown in small doses the drug can lead to a rapid and substantial improvement in depressed patients.
Despite the consistently positive findings, psychiatrists are concerned Aura Medical was selling the treatment direct to the public without proper psychiatric support or oversight.
Despite resigning several weeks ago, Professor Barrett’s name and photograph are still prominently featured on Aura Medical’s website.
The company has recently expanded to Brisbane, where ketamine injections are offered at the same office as the controversial erectile dysfunction treatment AMI nasal spray technology.

Australian Custom Pharmaceuticals, which compounds drugs for AMI technology, also provides the ketamine to Aura Medical.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-03-24/baby-taken-to-wrong-parents-at-melbourne-hospital/6345130

A newborn was mistakenly taken to the wrong mother’s room by a member of staff at St Vincent’s Private Hospital in Melbourne earlier this year, the facility’s chief executive says.

The hospital said while there were two babies placed in the hospital’s night nursery in January, one was taken out to the other’s parents’ room for a short time.
In a statement, chief executive Ian Grisold said at no time was the baby held or touched by the incorrect parents.

Mr Grisold said both families were openly told about the incident.
He said the hospital had apologised “unreservedly” to them and acknowledged their concerns and distress.
He said the hospital’s internal processes were also reviewed and staff were told about the importance of identification processes.

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