You Can Save a Life for $25

Wednesday, 31 August is International Overdose Awareness Day, and the timing is sadly relevant for South Australians.

The South Australian government has issued a public health warning following the tragic drug overdose deaths of 10 South Australians in recent weeks.

Eight of the deaths were due to heroin use, while the other two cases are linked to the use of fentanyl, an extremely potent synthetic painkiller (which has recently been trialled by the Women’s & Children’s Hospital for use by women in labour). The recent overdose deaths involved people aged between 31 and 56 years old.

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Will South Australians Miss Out on Future Cures?

It is a rare thing that a cure can be found for a chronic disease.

Yet such a thing did happen recently with the revolution in treatments for hepatitis C. The new Direct-Acting Antiviral medicines could cure over 90 per cent of those treated, in 8 to 24 weeks with minimal side effects. Compare this to previous treatment regimens of 24 to 48 weeks, often with severe side effects, and cure rates of only 50 to 80 per cent.

Such breakthroughs would not have been possible without concerted, meticulous research and coordinated clinical trials around the world. So it is disappointing to hear (see media report and  AMA article) that South Australia’s brand new state-of-the-art Royal Adelaide Hospital, will have no room for clinical trials.

It is believed that at best, only 15 per cent of the 350 current trials currently underway will be accommodated at the new RAH.

Leading medical experts and community organisations have voiced their concern over this lack of provision.

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