Fo­rum told of drugs or­deal

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - TESS IKONOMOU

“ONE day I’m go­ing to walk in here and pull the trig­ger,” said a Townsville vet­eran at an an­ti­malar­ial drugs com­mu­nity con­sul­ta­tion.

Vet­er­ans spoke of their men­tal and phys­i­cal an­guish at a fo­rum held by the Depart­ment of Vet­er­ans’ Af­fairs on Wed­nes­day night.

They told the depart­ment how they be­lieve the drugs Me­flo­quine and Tafeno­quine had ad­versely im­pacted them and their fam­i­lies.

The vet­eran de­scribed how he was at a break­ing point and con­sid­ered sui­cide to bring at­ten­tion to the is­sue be­cause he felt Townsville had been for­got­ten by pub­lic ser­vants in Can­berra.

An­other vet­eran told the room how he had de­vel­oped anger man­age­ment prob­lems af­ter tak­ing the drugs.

“It feels like at times my head will ex­plode and my fam­ily re­la­tion­ships have suf­fered,” he said.

Feed­back given to DVA rep­re­sen­ta­tives in­cluded pro­vid­ing as­sis­tance to part­ners of for­mer ser­vice­men and women and ed­u­cat­ing health pro­fes­sion­als on ad­e­quately treat­ing peo­ple who had taken the drugs.

Al­most 20 years ago more than 3000 troops were given the an­ti­malar­ial drugs while on de­ploy­ments in East Ti­mor and Bougainville New Guinea.

A Depart­ment of Vet­er­ans’ Af­fairs spokesman said the con­sul­ta­tions were to help the depart­ment un­der­stand the needs of vet­er­ans and di­rect them to treat­ment.

“The Govern­ment has lis­tened to ADF mem­bers, vet­er­ans and their fam­i­lies, and has put into place a num­ber of ac­tions to ad­dress their con­cerns,” the spokesman said.

“This in­cludes de­liv­er­ing a com­pre­hen­sive on­line in­for­ma­tion re­source along with es­tab­lish­ing a ded­i­cated sup­port team to as­sist with claims re­lated to these med­i­ca­tions.

“DVA spends around $ 200 mil­lion an­nu­ally on sup­port­ing the men­tal health needs of vet­er­ans and their fam­i­lies, and spends more than $ 11 bil­lion an­nu­ally to de­liver the es­sen­tial ser­vices to vet­er­ans and their fam­i­lies that they rely on.

“DVA has also ex­panded its free men­tal health treat­ment pro­gram.’’

Any­one with con­cerns should call DVA’s des­ig­nated phone line – 1800 ME­FLO­QUINE ( 1800 633 567) – in­clud­ing for in­for­ma­tion on up­com­ing con­sul­ta­tion fo­rums. Open Arms – Vet­er­ans and Fam­i­lies Coun­selling pro­vides a free, con­fi­den­tial coun­selling ser­vice to vet­er­ans and fam­i­lies Aus­tralia- wide. It is avail­able 24 hours a day, seven days a week on 1800 011 046. in Pa­pua

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.