A meeting to dispel fears about the pending opening of a new opioid drug clinic will be held in Coolangatta on Thursday.
A meeting to dispel fears about the pending opening of a new opioid drug clinic will be held in Coolangatta on Thursday. Patrick Sison

Drug clinic set to open

A MEETING will be held on Thursday to help dispel any community concerns about the pending opening of a new opioid abuse clinic in Coolangatta.

The meeting will be hosted by Gold Coast Pharmaceutical Support pharmacist Stuart Craven, who will outline the nature of the proposed Controlled Drug Administration Facility at 14 Griffith St.**

The clinic, which deals with patients struggling with opioid addiction, will be the fourth operated by GCPS, and is expected to open following DA approval.

The meeting comes after community concerns over the operation of the clinic, the people attending and the impact on surrounding businesses. It also follows reports of record high overdoses across Australia from opioid drugs.

"One of the biggest issues we have is getting the community to understand what we do and who the patients are we help," Mr Craven said.

"People have some big misconceptions as to what this clinic would do and who would be attending.

"We have been operating a clinic at Mermaid Beach for eight years which is directly adjacent to a residential area and our clinic in Southport, which has been going for six years, is in a busy area and metres from a private girls school.

"Both have been operating without serious incident or formal complaint since they opened and we can show through letters of endorsement from businesses that we are good neighbours."

Mr Craven said the GCPS clinics did not operate needle exchange programs or injecting rooms and took a very harsh approach to such activities.

"The people coming to us do so of their own accord and want help to restore their lives," he said.

"We set down some very strict protocols, place high expectations on our patients and have clearly defined operating hours.

"We have a 'one strike and you're out' policy and that relates to evidence of needle use, loitering around the premises after visiting the clinic and being respectful of the neighbouring businesses."

The GCPS clinic would operate on weekdays from 6.30am to 11.30am and from 3pm to 5pm plus a very short morning weekend session.

"These people who would attend our Coolangatta clinic are already living in the local area - they don't come from afar," he said.

"Many are already visiting local pharmacies for their opioid replacement medication needs and they come from all walks of life - from business professionals to the unemployed, parents to shift workers - they are simply people who haven't been able to cope one way or another with their addictions.

"The patients we deal with are discrete, they just want to get their treatment and get on with their daily lives.

"We want to help these people learn coping mechanisms and life skills and kick their addictions."

* All are welcome to attend the meeting on Thursday, August 23 from 5pm at the Coolangatta (Police) Community Consultative Committee meeting at the One Step Further Training Centre, Shop 5, Beach House Plaza, 52 Marine Parade. Anyone wishing to attend should contact Jo Smith on 0417 632 108 or email jo.smith@onestepfurther.com.au by the close of business on August 22.

** This article has been updated to reflect the proposed address as 14 Griffith St and not 87 Griffith St as originally published. - Ed

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