Drug trade fueled virus spike in West New South Wales

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The illicit drug trade has been blamed as the source of a major coronavirus outbreak in western New South Wales.

Dubbo Mayor Stephen Lawrence told the Senate Coronavirus Committee on Thursday that a drug trafficker who had visited Sydney had brought the virus to the main regional center.

“The truth that hardly dares to pronounce its name is that the initial spread of COVID-19 and then the subsequent transmission in regional NSW were very largely the product of the illicit drug trade,” he said. -he declares.

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Cr Lawrence said it was easy to wonder if Sydney should have had a “ring of steel,” but these answers were not based on reality.

“Much more could have been done in terms of recognizing the true engines of the transmission,” he said.

“I don’t know if anyone has mentioned QR codes for drug dealers yet, but they really should be.

“Saying that you wouldn’t respond to the social realities behind transmission is a bit like saying you don’t have safe injection rooms or that you don’t promote safe sex because the gay sex is illegal at some point.

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Broken Hill Mayor Darriea Turley said a large-scale national campaign, similar to HIV in the 1990s, should have been used to gain information on drug users and traffickers on the coronavirus.

“I bet if you really had a good peer support program, maybe they would have created another model of how they could have shared information with contact tracers,” she said during of the audience.

Cr Lawrence said the interaction of illicit drugs with the spread of the virus must be taken into account for the next pandemic.

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“If we have another pandemic, which could be much worse, think ahead of drug distribution networks,” he said.

“That’s how it went at Dubbo. That’s how it happened to Bourke. This is how it spread to all these different communities.

He said information for drug networks was not included in public health information which was designed to be straightforward and reach the general population.

-AAP

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