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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 04 Hansard (Tuesday, 5 April 2011) . . Page.. 1324 ..


MR SESELJA: Minister, is it true that there were five overdoses at the AMC as a result of prisoners being provided double doses of methadone by ACT Health staff?

MS GALLAGHER: I cannot confirm that number but I will undertake to provide advice to the Leader of the Opposition with an exact figure.

MR HANSON: A supplementary, Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Mr Hanson.

MR HANSON: Minister, in the Burnet report concerns were raised, and I will quote:

… prisoners experienced undue influence from health staff to commence methadone, especially after they had detoxed from other drugs.

Minister, are health staff continuing to push methadone treatment when prisoners have already detoxed?

MS GALLAGHER: I have no evidence to support a view that methadone is being pushed onto prisoners at the AMC. What I do know is that corrections health staff work with each and every prisoner assessing their health needs. We know that there are about 62 prisoners at the moment who are receiving methadone support while they are in the prison and that their individual doses are negotiated based on clinical advice. I know that corrections health work very hard to make sure that they are supporting the health needs of prisoners in the jail.

There has been some feedback garnered through the Burnet report, which we will release on Thursday with the government’s interim response to a number of the recommendations, which I guess canvass a range of views from prisoners, ex-prisoners, non-government organisations, health staff and corrections staff. I have to say that all of those views are displayed in the report and differ, depending on the informant who is providing that information. But they are not substantiated claims. They are feedback that has been provided to Burnet Institute as part of the evaluation of the drug programs and the programs provided by corrections health in the Alexander Maconochie Centre.

Mr Smyth: Have you got the report or not?

MR SPEAKER: I believe Mr Hanson is asking the supplementary question.

MR HANSON: Minister, why did the Burnet report state that “there was considered to be a lack of support for individuals wanting to cease opioid pharmacotherapy”?

MS GALLAGHER: I am providing the report to the Assembly, with the government’s interim response to the recommendations. I am not sure how useful it is to go part by part through a leaked copy of a report that the opposition has. My intention is to release the report—


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