Pubdate: Tue, 06 Mar 2001
Source: West Australian (Australia)
Copyright: 2001 West Australian Newspapers Limited
Contact:  +61 8 94823830
Author: Jill Rundle


THE recently released research and your report (1/3) on the safety of 
naltrexone as a treatment option for heroin dependants verifies some of the 
concerns held by the Western Australian Network of Alcohol and other Drug 
Agencies, the peak body of alcohol and drug agencies.

The strong, but not necessarily objective, advocacy of naltrexone as the 
ultimate answer for all heroin users, and society's resultant problems, is 

Any relapse after a period of ceasing heroin use, whether with the 
assistance of naltrexone or otherwise, increases the risk of overdose or 
death. Family members and users need to be fully aware of these heightened 
risks before treatment. Treatment programs have to be comprehensive, 
addressing all aspects of drug dependency, to be effective and to ensure 
reduced harm.

Naltrexone is a valuable addition to the treatment options available. As 
the research of Dr Fellows-Smith and Dr Edwards indicates, it is a suitable 
option for only 10-15 per cent of opiate-dependent people. Responsible 
interventions are not based on the philosophy of "I cannot turn anybody 
away", but rather predicated on "is this the best approach for this 
individual or would they benefit more from another approach"?

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