"Drug Addiction in Australia" is a fascinating new book by Doctor John Sherman, an addiction specialist who is an expert in the treatment of heroin dependence.
It is based on John’s experience working with heroin addicts in Melbourne over 40 years in specialist clinics in St Kilda and Footscray.
The book comprises a series of stories told through the eyes of drug users, their families, healthcare workers, academics, policy makers and politicians, police and researchers. It traces the history of drugs of dependence in Australia and how it impacts the health of users, and the wellbeing of their families their friends and society at large through crime, increased costs of law enforcement the criminal justice system and decreased workforce productivity.
John has seen firsthand the devastating effect of drug dependency on his patients and witnessed the trauma suffered by families when a loved one develops a drug problem.
At his Footscray clinic he currently has over 1,000 patients on pharmacotherapy substitute opiate therapies like Methadone or Suboxone.
He is firmly of the belief that the Drug Prohibition makes a bad situation much worse for his patients and their families.
John says, "Some of the problems exacerbated by The Prohibition are accidental overdoses, crime, Hepatitis C and HIV infections, sepsis, accidents, suicide and disrupted families."
John recommends implementing a heroin programme for long term patients for whom all other treatments have failed. This would allow him as a doctor to treat the real underlying cause of addiction to pursue a long term solution for his patients.
"I believe that injecting rooms would decrease the rate of overdoses and infections and is a common sense option."