EDITORIAL for Monday 25 June 2018

Welcome to the current edition for i2P (Information to Pharmacists) E-Magazine dated Monday June 25 2018.
While we may have become desensitised to the nightly newsfeed of brutality and violence involving murder, rape, suicide, domestic violence charge, warfare and its aftermath – distressed refugees, graft and corruption; you could be forgiven for thinking that perhaps our community systems are breaking down, unable to bear the overload.
Something happened since our last edition that has galvanised communities in Melbourne, and it has reverberated throughout Australia.
That was the rape/murder of a young woman named Euridyce Dixon.
Horrified people are coming together with a sense of loss and anger that our community systems have broken down to the extent that none of us, male and female, can feel safe without taking elaborate precautions that still fail to preserve a safe environment.
So people have spontaneously come together to take back their rights to safety and freedom of movement and have begun the process of asking the question of community leaders….Why?
Those answers will be multi-layered because there are numerous elements involved.

Obviously the perpetrators of these horrific events will have some degree of mental illness.
How can we identify this factor, understand the causes and how can preventive measures be put in place?
And if various communities are now banding together to find and promote solutions, how can the pharmacy community help?

Well, i2P did, at an earlier date, promote the idea of community pharmacy involvement in the problem of domestic violence, in that a community pharmacy could become a trusted “safe house” where an abused person could report their abuse problem, with the next step being a form of triage as a pharmacist assembled or assisted in helping the abused person find various levels of organised support, securely and privately.
Given that a community pharmacy already has high community trust levels, it is an ideal and neutral, non-threatening environment.
An environment that would not arouse suspicion of an abusive partner as would say, the alternative environment of a police station.

A community pharmacy is thus in a position to arrange sanctuary for an abused person while simultaneously be in a position to identify an abuser.

The difficult part becomes how do you recruit an abuser into a mental health program safely?

This aspect would form up as a preventive mental health program and with a bit of thought and research, community pharmacy could be at the forefront of a much-needed community initiative, likely to be supported by all levels of government.

It also requires a culture upgrade which can only be initiated by pharmacy leadership to have the community and its government representatives to be accepting of such an idea.
And a percentage of the work involved needs to be pro bono.

If we accept that mental health is the primary driver of violent behaviour, what then is the cause underlying the increase in mental health issues?
We know that drugs, legal and illegal, can be one cause.
Legal drugs such as antidepressantss (in particular the SSRI’s) cause suicidal and homicidal thoughts.
The one common aspect of the multiplicity of US school shootings was that all the shooters had been on antidepressants and had been in withdrawal at the time of their shooting spree.
We know further that mainstream media should have been reporting and investigating this fact and widely reporting on this phenomenon.
The reason mainstream media does not report is because drug companies are the largest $-value advertisers.
Additionally, media companies and drug companies cross-invest with one another setting up an impenetrable web of manufactured and protected news.

Alcohol abuse also features strongly in domestic violence, and according to recent media reports, sporting events often serve as a catalyst.
For example, the NRL State of origin matches stimulate domestic violence incidents to a point 40 percent above average.
That event is strongly sponsored by alcoholic drink manufacturers with logos plastered all over the uniforms of the players.
Surely the constant advertising reinforces the consumption of alcohol?
Can’t we come up with a more commonsense system?

These important issues can only be addressed with appropriate legislation.

Herein lies one of those “layers” referred to earlier in this editorial, and that is the massive dollar expenditure in the lobbying of politicians, written off as a marketing expense by involved corporations.
The payoff?
Drug and alcohol companies are supported through favourable policy decisions that allow bad drugs to be legally launched on the population, and inappropriate stimulation of alcohol consumption.
This reality is directly related to the mental health of our populations and directly underwrites the spread of violent behaviour.
What we are witnessing is a breakdown in democracy and individual freedoms.
If it continues unchecked, the solution, as history already shows, is civil unrest and revolution.

The coming together of the Melbourne community is just an initial response down that pathway, and thus is a very serious event.

Illegal drugs such as “Ice” also underwrite mental health and violence.
Our official policy to handle the epidemic of illegal drug taking is “the war on drugs”, which is prohibition under another name.
All evidence points to the fact that prohibition has failed miserably (no matter what substance is involved) and that the issue ought to be treated as a health issue.
In Portugal, this has been the policy and the evidence derived from that policy of treating the illegal drug problem as a health issue shows a high degree of success.
Given that this evidence exists, why are we not going down the pathway of decriminalising the users and stop locking them up in overcrowded, violent jails.

It is ironic that one initially banned substance (cannabis) has the potential to treat anxiety and depression caused by drugs of addiction, with the bonus of also being able to treat addiction and wean them off their toxic drug.
That is an issue that pharmacy leaders ought to take up with government and fast-track supply of medical cannabis as another form of violence prevention.
Government policy is still fueled by Big Pharma lobbying that still prevents access by patients to a substance that could well and truly pay its way.
The logjam needs to be broken!

In this edition i2P carries articles on Portugal’s decriminalising of the drug problem as well as information on medical cannabis and a business model opportunity for pharmacists, for its incorporation in an integrated clinic format.

And in our last edition, Gerald Quigley described some simple treatments for depression and mental health management in his article titled Can We Make a Difference on mental health? 
There is a lot that can be organised into practical solutions launched through a community pharmacy.
Thought and commitment are the main requirements coupled with an active and innovative leadership approach to updating pharmacy culture to match healthcare delivery needs of all variants and flavours.
The issues raised in this editorial will not disappear without a concerted community effort.
Are pharmacists as a community, up to making the key contribution they are capable of?

Press releases in the mainstream media and other health professional media made by executives of medical leadership groups who criticise pharmacists and other health modalities for imagined transgressions have reached a state of complete disrespect.
For people who see themselves as representing a health leader profession, the tirade has now reached the stage of a dictatorship declaring open warfare.
As a result, communication gaps are opening up and patient discomfort is apparent.

This is definitely not good medicine and patients feel like hostages to this process.
So there is defection to health practitioners who treat them responsibly and respectfully, and they are usually found in the natural practitioner ranks.
So our once great health service is fast becoming a tattered and uncoordinated version of its former self.

Pharmacists are advised to cultivate genuine local relationships with GP’s but to be very assertive if attacked by a local medical practitioner.
And work only with the respectful GP’s at every opportunity to fill a patient’s unmet health need.
Read: Bypass the AMA if Collaborative Ventures are Required for Unmet Patient Needs

Gerald Quigley has also noted the discord published in medical/pharmacy media.
He also recognises the patient problems that are created with this form of communications breakdown.
In a past era, open criticism of a co-professional was cause for deregistration because unfounded criticism was simply regarded as unethical conduct.
Patient centrality and focus must be restored!
Read: What’s going on here?

US investigative journalist, Jon Rappoport, reports in part, on the decline of public trust in the manufacturer’s of pharmaceutical drugs.
The American public is starting to wake up to the deficiencies in the manufacture and marketing of mainstream drugs.
This is tracked in the Edelman’s annual Trust Barometer survey.
“The 13-point drop from 51% to 38% in the U.S. was the category’s biggest plummet in the five years the public relations and marketing firm has been tracking [public] sentiment…Pharma’s score of 38 puts it firmly in distrusted territory…”
This process must also be under way in Australia and given that the medical profession fronts for the policy and evidence-base of Big Pharma, this must contribute to a decrease of esteem in the eyes of the Australian general public.
No wonder medical leaders attempt to distract the population with attacks on pharmacy and alternate health modalities in an attempt to deflect such criticism.
Read: Many Ordinary Meds Cause Depression; Public Trust in Pharma Hits New Low

Portugal has a health policy that treats the users of illegal and other addictive substances as a health problem rather than being a criminal issue.
Countries that embrace “the war on drugs” are really engaging in prohibitionist policy – a policy that has never worked – anywhere!
Since the adoption of its new policy, Portugal has seen positive impacts in patient health, lower addiction rates, fewer people imprisoned – all having a positive impact on the economy overall.
Dr Andrew Byrne attended a meeting recently where the architect of Portugal’s new policy, Dr Manuel Cardoso, addressed the gathering of interested people.
Hopefully we may see some future positive changes to Australian policy based on Portugal’s evidence that a health focus works.
Read: An Evening With Manuel Cardoso – The Man Who Helped Reform Portugal’s Drug Policy

WHO has made a statement saying that cannabis should be decriminalised world-wide because existing laws cause health discrimination.
In Australia, patients are being actively discriminated against as police are instructed to enforce existing laws and close down “illegal” supplies, leaving critically ill people with no workable solutions for their health problems.
Flawed health policy generates bad laws and lowered community respect for policy and laws.
Yet again, Pharmacy is in a position to provide solutions very simply and simultaneously create opportunity for the profession to treat chronically ill patients efficiently and economically.
Pharmacy leaders need to be proactive in the regulatory area because other health professionals are actively competing to lock pharmacy out of any opportunity whatsoever.
Potential for pharmacists is found in the compounding of THC and CBD in specific ratios to match the best result for patients with chronic illness.
Further pharmacist potential also lies in using cannabinoids in harm minimisation programs involving opioid dependencies and as an adjunct for the management of pain.
Pharmacists also need to be active and have a voice in the regulation of these substances ensuring that maximum patient access can be obtained through the application of Schedule 3 of the Poison’s Act.

Read: Understanding Medical Cannabis – 1. CannabisTech: Commercialization Of Hemp-Based Bioplastics 2. The Guardian: All eyes on Canada as first G7 nation prepares to make marijuana legal 3. New Cannabis Ventures: Canadian Clinic Operator to Launch Compass Australia

“The science is settled”.
So say the people who promote vaccination as some form of extreme medical ideology.
“Scientism is settled” is a more accurate description of the manipulation of the science surrounding vaccines – and it is certainly “unsettling” to hear the dishonest claims that blare out in all forms of media.
“First do no harm” is the concept that underwrites all medical practice.
Australian vaccination policy is so poor and damaging, that it beggars belief that legislators can be so close to manufacturer sales objectives as to guarantee them a market through coercive legislation that involves simultaneous removal of patient choice.
The evidence supporting vaccine policy failure and its lack of safety is becoming so voluminous that it will eventually destroy the unnatural power alliance that desperately tries to hold it all together.

Read: The Safe Vaccine Debate – 1. Robert Kennedy’s World Mercury Project: The Big Secret The Mainstream Media Doesn’t Want To Tell You About America’s Soaring Suicide Rates 2. NVIC: The Theory of Herd Immunity Has Nothing to Do With Vaccination  3. Jon Rappoport: Europe under the vaccination gun: an expanding tragedy

Encouragement and a working environment that promotes and supports the principles of encouragement creates great working relationships with staff that flows on to patients, because it is also a useful engagement tool.
So a positive management method can translate to a promotional support.
Try it some time in your pharmacy.
Read: Encouragement Unleashes Potential

And we wrap up our content for this edition with some media releases from three pharmacy leadership organisations.

PSA – PSA Media Releases – 1. Exceptional pharmacists receive Queen’s Birthday Honours 2. Empowering more patients to better manage medication 3. PSA welcomes new leaders in Quality Use of Medicines

NPS – NPS Media Releases –  New Chief Executive for NPS MedicineWise

And a release from the Pharmacist Support Service (PSS)

Donate now to support the Pharmacists’ Support Service before the 30th June 2018

John Coppock, President of the Pharmacists’ Support Service (PSS) says it is a good time to support the work of PSS with a tax deductible donation before 30 June 2018.
John said “All donations are welcome, whether a one off or a regular monthly gift.
PSS needs the ongoing financial support of the profession to continue supporting our pharmacy colleagues, especially as the use of the service continues to increase.”

Compelling reasons to donate to PSS are:

  • All pharmacists, interns and pharmacy students in Australia are eligible to receive support – PSS is there for the whole profession.
  • PSS gives non-judgmental support whatever the situation.
  • PSS is available every day between 8.00 am and 11.00 pm EST on 1300 244 910.
  • All volunteers taking the calls are pharmacists or retired pharmacists who undertake training to provide support over the phone.
  • Calls to PSS have continued to increase in the last 12 months and this is increasing operating expenses.
  • You never know when you or a colleague may need PSS.
  • PSS supports pharmacists so that pharmacists can continue to care for the Australian community.

Click the Donate Now button on

www.supportforpharmacists.org.au or https://www.facebook.com/supportforpharmacists/

You will be then access our online giving portal, hosted by Give Now https://www.givenow.com.au/pharmacistssupportservice.
Choose a one off donation or elect to make a regular monthly gift.
We thank these organisations, all represented on our Management Committee, for their ongoing commitment to PSS:

  • Australian Friendly Societies Pharmacies Association
  • Pharmaceutical Defence Ltd
  • Pharmacy Guild of Australia
  • Pharmaceutical Society of Australia
  • Pharmaceutical Society of Victoria Ltd
  • Professional Pharmacists Australia
  • Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia
  • National Australian Pharmacy Students’ Association.

And that completes our content offering for this edition of i2P.
We hope you enjoy it and make appropriate comment in the panel provided at the foot of each article.

Neil Johnston
Editor, i2P E-Magazine
Monday, June 25 2018


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