Letters to the editor

LAW REFORM A BONUS

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk should be congratulated for backing a cross-party parliamentary inquiry into end-of-life care including voluntary assisted dying law reform.

It is hoped the inquiry can start as soon as possible to ensure we offer a choice to the terminally ill who find themselves suffering with no prospect of relief as they approach the end of their life.

Queenslanders must now be on guard against the myths and fictions that will be spread by the small and unrepresentative number of people who oppose this long-overdue law reform.

Those who want to deny the terminally ill the option of voluntary assisted dying will claim palliative care is sufficient even though it is not a case of “one or the other”. Palliative care and voluntary assisted dying can co-exist and be offered as options for those who should have the right to make their own free choice.

Victoria and jurisdictions around the globe have proved it is possible to deliver law reforms that provide for a workable and regulated framework for voluntary assisted dying. Now it is Queensland’s turn to examine similar reforms to address this significant social issue that has wide and deep community support.

Professional market research recently commissioned and released by the Clem Jones Trust and Dying With Dignity Queensland shows support for voluntary assisted dying at close to 80 per cent.

The results show opponents are well and truly in the minority. But that will not stop them making inflammatory, misleading, and false claims in their bid to deny the terminally ill a choice. Queenslanders need to be alert to such blatant misrepresentations in coming weeks and months.

- D. Muir, Clem Jones Trust chairman

DRUG SOLUTIONS SOUGHT

I write to you from the not-for-profit Penington Institute to highlight that it is critical that solutions are found to Australia’s huge crisis with opioid drugs.

The latest Australia’s Annual Overdose Report 2018 reveals a massive 87 per cent increase in pharmaceutical opioid deaths from 2008 to 2014 in Australia. We are talking about drugs like oxycodone, codeine and fentanyl – which is about 100 times more powerful than pure morphine. Heroin overdose deaths are increasing too. If we carry on down this path, Australia will experience a United States style drug overdose crisis.

A total of 2177 lives were lost to overdose in 2016. One answer lies in a very important drug that we are not hearing enough about.  Naloxone.  It needs to be put into the hands of the people who need it most. Put simply, naloxone saves lives and temporarily reverses an opioid overdose.  Naloxone also reverses a heroin overdose.

We say naloxone should be provided free of charge through mental health services, pharmacies, hospital emergency rooms and needle and syringe programs.  The drug has few side effects and – in an emergency – will literally save a life. Naloxone is – in essence – an emergency medicine.

We have to turn the tide on opioid overdose deaths.  We need action on this now.

I urge readers to ask your local MP what role they are playing in getting naloxone into the hands of people who need it most – and ask their local MP what actions are they really taking to help reduce accidental drug overdoses in the local area?

- J. Ryan, Penington Institute chief executive

SUPERMARKET 10 CENT LEVY PLOY

This price increase should never have been tied to the drought. The supermarkets are crafty. The milk that has gone up in price is not branded milk. People wanting to support the industry could very well start buying this so-called drought milk and stop buying branded milk. Can no one see what a disaster this could be?

- D. Wilson, via Facebook

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