Monday, 9 May 2011

Drug Free Australiaʼs Dr. Stuart Reece & Culpable Abuse Of Patients

If you're part of the movement that opposes vaccines for kids, a homeopathy witch doctor or one of the dangerous, anti-harm minimisation loon squad, then the chances are you have been targeted sometime by Paul Gallagher. As one of Australia's leading skeptics, Paul Gallagher is especially passionate about those who reinterpret science as some kind of self righteous crusade usually involving their religious beliefs or personal ideology. Read on as Paul uncovers some disturbing truths that feel more akin to a science fiction novel than something that can happen in a so called, advanced society. 

By Paul Gallagher

A critical look at faith based practices and superstition used in the abuse of heroin dependent patients, in conjunction with poorly monitored naltrexone prescription.
Dr. Reece continues to practice today and still claims to hold “a world safety record” in naltrexone prescription, despite over 25 fatalities in 20 months.
He continues to write in the anti-drug, ambitiously named Journal of global drug policy and practice. See final pages.
We begin with publications from just after Dr. Reece found the QLD Medical Tribunal indefinitely adjourned his case.
This easy to access and a pleasure to read, embedded PDF of Focus magazine has two relevant stories. On page 1 we meet Graham Preston who was jailed back in June 2003 for pro-life antics. His sole direction was Proverbs 24, verse 11: “Rescue those being led away to death”. Note the bias in how his story is reported and please understand this is an excellent example of using religion to cement tribal cohesion. Now read the story on page 2: Naltrexone Doctor Vindicated and remind yourself of the above proverb. Dr. Reeceʼs “feelings were hurt”. No news on how the 25 corpses are feeling.

For the record, not only is it entirely irrelevant to launch ad hominem attacks on the application of demonstrably efficacious therapy {MMT}, but the claims made have been followed up and found to be fallacious. These statements simply reinforce that fundamentalist indoctrination and zealotry of such lethal extent is resilient to rehabilitation. Attacking an evidence based therapy indicates his aim was never about adding to the rehabilitation arsenal. It was about a personal vendetta over old funding disagreements and his religious conviction that certain policies are immoral. Science is immoral, evolution is immoral, democracy is immoral... Anything not backed by bible blubbery is of course, immoral.

In reality the QLD Health Practitioners Tribunal adjourned indefinitely over the 25 deaths at his bastard baptising, demon exorcising, sin stopping, faith healing hands. Letʼs consider a more expansive view, given that he has since claimed multiple times – and before a Parliamentary inquiry – to “hold the world safety record” in administering the very treatment he killed 25 Aussies with. Like most junk scientists his arguments arenʼt about his supporting evidence, as much as about misinforming people about aspects of medicine he considers immoral. Much like homeopathy, Christian fundamentalism as a medical option [christian science] must discredit that which exposes itʼs lies: simple, ordinary evidence. Dr. Reece is the gentleman who coined the term “hedonistic delirium” to describe modern democracies. Or the simply gorgeous: “Sometimes the best way forward, is the way back” in a brave attempt to argue pre-industrial revolution societies were superior.

Okay – letʼs begin. By 1999 Australia knew naltrexone was far from safe despite “miraculous” stories of recovery. Wodak and Hall discussed the evidence in an editorial in the MJA, that also briefly noted the role of the media in confusing community attitudes. Stuart Reece would never forget this and has “blamed” not only these scientists but projected responsibility for his disgusting conduct onto these very individuals. He has slandered both of these brilliant internationally renowned scientists whilst under Parliamentary protection accusing Hall of “scientific fraud” [Page 61/FHS 55 ]. And he has ignored the Hippocratic oath in his quest to slander and destroy Dr. Wodakʼs reputation.

In September 1999 after being raided and threatened with closure he claimed the QLD government would have blood on itʼs hands if he didnʼt get his way. 20 months later, 25 patients were dead  because he got exactly what he wanted. He was raided and closed down again, much to the ire of the Christian Democrat Party – whose “federal drug policy” proudly claims individual Aussies have no civil rights in this respect. Biblical love is in abundance whenever Dr. Reece is faced with evidence. Three months after claiming 25 “drug addicts” died as “part of a conspiracy”, Reece dropped all pretense and did the media circuit as a faith healer. In fact these “patients” earned him thousands of dollars per head only to be prescribed addictive benzodiazapines – later to contribute to cause of death – as the untrialled and untested naltrexone failed. Had basic support – such as a contact or counseling – been available, heroin overdoses would be highly unlikely. As I noted above, this was never about helping addicts so much as winning a moral argument, and the lucrative contracts that must one day follow.

In October 2005 Christian conservative Tony Abbott MP Liberal (then Federal Health Minister) funded Drug Free Australia to the tune of $600,000. They breached almost every condition under which they were awarded the funding, ultimately emerging as right wing lobbyists – not therapists – and set about promoting Creationism, Conservatism and Punishment for all. They are devout followers of Swedenʼs zero tolerance policy and the USA hardliners [open letter] who cling to lucrative contracts and powerful identities. Reece, a supporter of biblically driven abstinence and Texas trained fundamentalist was back with backing.

By April 2007 Dr. Reece was testifying to a Parliamentary Inquiry that the immoral policies that permitted condoms – the real cause behind AIDS – clean needles, opioid therapy for addicts, non-punitive cannabis laws, harm reduction and general tolerance for ill Aussies would be our doom. In utter amazement the Senate Standing Committee stared as this “expert” whoʼd introduced himself by saying “I certainly know the science”, displayed a photo of “the archaeological site of Sodom” and a tree with snakes instead of branches. [Page 33/FHS 27]. The point to this? “There will be consequences”.

As reported in Crikey by Ray Moynihan our world expert decided the “disease drugs, sex and rock-n-roll” was the problem at hand. Asked about the safety of naltrexone, Dr. Reece immaturely attacked the internationally renowned scientist, Dr. Wodak [Page 59/FHS54], who specialiseʼs in blood born viruses and epidemiology – which means he supports condoms, clean syringe access and used syringe collection: dire threats to our very civilisation, claimed Reece. This childish ad hominem approach is common despite the fact entire shires with dozens of dispensaries and hundreds of clients report no methadone deaths. A minority report death, and methadone is one toxic substance on a list of many. It is taken under supervision, immediately after being prepared by a pharmacist. Compared to 25 deaths at the hands of one man in a year and a half, a scattering of deaths across hundreds of outlets in every state, is of no significance. Dr. Albert Stuart Reeceʼs real world record is clearly in reckless fatalities.

How did Committee Chairperson react to this insanity? Bronwyn Bishop slandered and abused public health scientists yet gushed uncontrollably in support of Dr. Reeceʼs voodoo. A pre-determined agenda in what was billed as the most important family relevant inquiry of Howardʼs government spoke volumes. Bishops final report was rejected nationwide by all but religious fundamentalists and Christian lobbyists. Read my lips. Not one single publically funded treatment or advocacy agency in our nation missed the opportunity to criticise in scathing terms her “report”. Which you may remember from coverage of her wish to “take the children” of drug users with “absolutely no chance” of reunion.

Gordon Moyes also forgot about Proverbs 24, Verse 11 shouting praise for naltrexone despite the grave concerns of our medical community about it remaining unregulated – but lucrative for the same people year in, year out. When the Medical Journal of Australia exposed the fact these same misguided faith healers were not reporting adverse reactions – despite TGA requirements under the Special Access loophole demanding it of them – Dr. Gods team were having none of this “academic stuff”. Drug Free Australia actually published a sorta, kinda rebuttal. And yes, adorning the page is direct reference to Dr. Stuart Reece himself. In deeply offensive mockery boasting how Reece “studies” death rates post treatment they entitled their piece of twaddle, Australia could be the biggest loser.

I could go on and on, and the above is a cut down sanitised version sparing you Dr. Reeceʼs sickening obsession with teenage and childhood sex and sexual assault, murder, violence... all due to “the depraved advertising industry” which catalysed “the disease sex, drugs and rock-n-roll”. Advertising womenʼs nudity, outside of “a strictly medical context” is, in his ever so wise [and medically qualified] eyes, “incredibly powerful pornography.”

Today, a decade plus since this intellectual repugnance began, Reece is front and centre as a pin up boy for religious fundamentalism. Three years ago he promised Parliament with a blinding flash of Peacock Terminology that his results were “statistically powerful” and “revolutionary”. Of course, there are no results. Itʼs the same certainty that only faith can sustain. If prayer cures homosexuality, addiction is a certainty. His latest work “proves” naltrexone is safer than opioid therapy. As reported on ABCʼs 7:30 Report  in 2006 multiple disciplinary teams have steadily found naltrexone has a fatality rate over four times that of opioid therapy. Dr. Reece, and others who seek funding and massive contracts seem to have a magic formula no others can find.

My point to this indulgent diversion is that Australia is no stranger to standing back with folded arms and by not acting as we would expect a just society to act, reinforces the misguided belief that religion is the “untouchable” tool. For over ten years a huge part of our public health system has been exploited in the name of religion. How have we allowed progressively malignant superstition to dictate to us on morality? Given the example set by the USA why are we intentionally expanding and funding fundamentalist religions? Why do we insist that junk Christian science is “harmless” and ones own choice, in the same way we insist alternative medicine is harmless and “an informed choice”?

Only in recent years has the orchestrated rejection of default respect for religion found a strong voice. We no longer accept in total the authority of those who use God as an `excuse – as we see done above – but we still have a very long way to travel intellectually. I would also argue that we must not be led further astray by those who use the “F Word” – family values – so liberally. The value of any family is much like the institution of marriage. Place it above human rights and human beings will be abused in the name of subjective value judgement.

So my greatest question is along the lines of concerns already raised: the intentional maligning of science. In its typical tradition, the splintered and fractured divergences of Christianity that stoke the engine furnace of conservative fundamentalism invite steadily more bizarre practices into its protective fold. Only a fool would accept abundant taxation and Equal Opportunity exemption is not exploited and as with all power, will be jealously guarded and arrogantly inflated.

How long before we as a community demand legislators acknowledge that default cap in hand respect and trust is fraught with risk already evidenced by the abuse of our vulnerable, flagrant law breaches, financial scams, bigotry, insouciant discrimination and, as seen with orchestrated child sexual abuse, an excuse for crushing immorality? What future can we expect if we allow this illusion of god-given elitism to increasingly include rejection of realities that conflict with demonstrably false and absurd beliefs? How long before Equal Opportunity exemption includes rejection of educational standards? Is not freedom of religion at risk of abandoning its duty to community cohesion such that Christians may enjoy an escape from reality?
Already we allow home schooling that is overtly biblical and anti-ʼmodernityʼ. We permit dietary restrictions that run in direct contrast to national daily nutritional intake requirements, never questioning if the children starved of iron and protein this way are simply pawns in their parents deluded vacuum. We allow parental denial of the administration of medical technology that would save a childʼs life: a simple blood transfusion. Anti-vaccination conspiracy theorists promote “conscientious objection”. We fund schools not to educate students but to fill their minds with archaic ideals. Ideals so easily refuted by merely looking around our Fair Go nation that a great deal of supporting intellectualism is spent mocking, discrediting and misinforming on the topic of science.

The Christian god demands he be loved above and beyond any and all – including family members. Having perhaps not insignificant experience fending off ʻchapter and verseʼ arguments Iʼm reminded by this video [Part 2] of Abraham and Gods test of his loyalty. He was ordered to kill his son on Mount Moriah according to Genesis 22: 1-24. Not until he had bound his son Isaac to a sacrificial alter and held the dagger aloft did good oleʼ god step in and say, “Ho, Ho – just joshing old friend”. Or, words to that effect.

The final question is perhaps, how many will be abused, exploited, tormented, mocked, slandered and threatened simply because we are yet to demand the burden of proof be met? But to do so in any serious legislative manner is to lose ones political influence. A direct loss of votes. Religious apologetics – even moderate Christian Kevin Ruddʼs “working families” dash to church each week – is steadily cranking that heavy jagged wheel of global superstition.

And it is our very selves and our species brightest traits that is crushed beneath.

Comments posted online from a relative and a friend of Reeceʼs patients.
Just Jules says: June 5, 2010 at 6:01 am Ahhh there is none so blind as those who can not see .. Dr Reece in my eyes is a discusting (sic) human being .. I am the mother of a child he treated .. He also treated my daughter in law and the mother of my first grand child .. If you want to see what his methods leave you with, go see my daughter in law who for the last 11 years has been in a home for the severely brain damaged .. In is own words to me ” they are just reoffending drug addicts”. He is a wolf in sheeps clothing and should of been stopped before he started

Vicki PS says: July 5, 2010 at 12:02 pm I came across this site looking for help for a friend of my daughterʼs. This young woman has been increasingly unhappy with her treatment under Dr Reece. He is treating her addiction with Suboxone, a subutex/naltrexone combination drug. Her big concern is that this unethical, immoral disgrace to the profession reduces her dosage if she has not been to church! This girl is now in early pregnancy and is scared that she could miscarry if this idiot messes around with her medication to suit his pathological world view. I find it frankly incredible that Dr Reece is still permitted to practice.

Stuart Reece:
The Journal Of Global Drug Policy And Practice
Gordon Moyes - “a Christian voice in politics”:
House Standing Committee on Family and Human Services: Australian Parliament
Inquiry into the impact of illicit drug use on families. Chair: Bronwyn Bishop MP - Liberal Party.

Final Report - The Winnable War on Drugs - Bronwyn Bishop September 13th, 2007. Audio of Bishopʼs launch of The Winnable War 

"To the crimes against humanity, it is incumbent upon us as oath takers, advocates of neutrality, professionals and ethicists to note one more. The intentionally malignant anthropomorphism of "science". Science is the vehicle that set us free and we owe our global cousins everything we have gained - indeed as we gain.

To demand that affluent society must now see it as a lumbering, monstrous, "evil" and sentient agent with the single aim of polluting human morale is puerile, ideological, mischievous and markedly in error. We are agents of morality far, far before and because we are agents of evidence."
- Paul Gallagher. August 2009

Paul Gallagher. May 5th, 2011 - republished from October 17th 2009. Copyright: All Rights Reserved.


Gledwood said...

I knew someone on naltrexone therapy. He had an implant that bruised up his stomach and supposedly prevented him from using heroin for several weeks. It didn't stop him using heroin. It stopped him getting high off it. I've never seen this person so miserable. I wouldn't go on it, especially if an implant or depot shot were involved; imagine if you had an accident and needed urgent pain medication? What would they do? Say "there there, just wait six weeks and we'll give it to you then"..?

I also met this girl in rehab who had accidentally consumed a naltrexone tablet in her sister's orange juice. She was sick as anything for 2 days, took 700mg of methadone which still didn't hold her. Absolute nightmare!

Nasty stuff!

Terry Wright said...

Thanks Gleds.
Isn't it an excellent article by Paul Gallagher! He really knows his stuff.

Naltrexone can be pretty nasty if you want to hurt a junkie. Just dissolve half a pill in their drink and watch as instant withdrawals send them into a hell unknown to most of us.

Firesnake said...

Thanks Terry for some very positive comments. Too kind!

And Glenwood your comments are all too common. Sadly, those who seek to get implants up and running don't report adverse reations, to avoid losing the TGA Special Access loophole - and give fake impressions.

There's a Lancet comment Concerns over injectable naltrexone for opioid dependence in PDF here.


An additional question, particularly in light of earlier research that showed oral naltrexone to be less effective in the treatment of opioid dependence thanbuprenorphine,is why researchers and institutional review boards deemed it ethically acceptable to expose some study participants to placebo. The Declaration of Helsinki, which sets standards for all medical researchon human beings, states clearly that the benefits, risks,burdens, and effectiveness of a new drug should betested against best available treatment, and authorises aplacebo group only when there is no accepted standardof care.

This is not the case for opioid dependence.The fact that Russia does not permit methadone orbuprenorphine treatment does not excuse the useof placebo, but rather raises the question of whyinvestigators chose that country to test a drug for which US approval would be sought. The testing of depotnaltrexone in Russia is akin to finding a location with noaccess to antiretrovirals and then testing a new HIV drug against placebo.

Which goes nicely with the Wikileaks cable on suppressing harm reduction.

Discussed here.
Paul Gallagher.

Anonymous said...

There are lots of negative articles and publications in regards to naltrexone, but where is the comparison between it's success rate?

My husband had the naltrexone implant in late 2003 performed by Dr Reece after spending most of his teen years an addict. Prior he had tried methadone with no success. 8 years on we have 2 children together and he is highly regarded in our community and zero relapse. It has crossed his mind in earlier years however it was more of a physiological temptation then a physical.

He owes his life to Dr Reece

He owes Dr Reece his life,

Anonymous said...

Yeah he's religious...I just went along with that and was grateful to get a second chance at life. It has saved mine. Of course if you inject too much you will o/d with or without naltrexone....any idiot that has an implant should know...seeing as though they sought this particular treatment in the first place that the point of it is not getting of course if that's what you want and you do it on naltrexone your going to o/d...and your an idiot.

Unknown said...

My son had the naltrexone implant and we knew the risks but living the life of a heroin addict is not living so the if someone really wants to get off heroin and choose,s the implant good on them for taking the risk instead of been the walking dead .

Unknown said...

Gledwood they get addicted to the neddle so your mate didn't use the heroin for the high chances are it's for the rush they get when they inject and they will be misrable for a while as they have to relearn how to live life .Life off drugs takes counsulling and time cause your whole life revolves around the drug when your an addict so anxiety and depression are normal when you take all they know away.