to:

minister.health@dhhs.vic.gov.au

date:

28 Jul 2021, 06:56

subject:

QUITLINE.ORG : CRIMINAL NEGLECT

 

 

 

I am writing to you as a smoker for 25 years, trying to quit through the Quitline.org service, but first I would like to introduce myself to you as an author of 3 books, a senior metaphysicist, human rights advocate, public figure of 25 years as a national entertainer, mindfulness and healing practitioner, private researcher of the Consequences of Modern Technology and writer/producer of 15 music albums.

 

My concerns about the Quitline service are of utmost importance. I appreciate your full attention to this very serious matter:

 

When I decided to quit smoking I called Quitline because there were no other options for support apart from pricey nicotine replacement products. I discovered there is no smokers' equivalent to Alcoholics Anonymous, Heroin Safe Houses, or rehabilitation centers willing to accommodate me for a week or two to assist through the initial withdrawal period from this very powerful drug. Quitline was my only option.

 

I have found the staff answering phones to be very supportive and extremely understanding, generous with their time and insightful about my addiction. My concerns do not fall on the Qutiline staff at all. Thanks to their incredible support, I was able to cut down from a full-time 25-year habit, to 2 cigarettes a day, in one week. Here is where my concerns begin:

 

Right when I needed them most, the first weekend of my withdrawals, I discovered that Quitline is not in operation on weekends.

 

This is unacceptable and must be corrected immediately.

 

I'd like to share my reasons with you, for why I strongly hold the view, that failing to provide consistent support over weekends constitutes criminal neglect and abuse by both Federal and State government.

 

  • Nicotine addiction is the top-ranking addiction of all other drugs.

  • Smoking-related illness stats dwarf all other stats for all other illnesses.

  • Nicotine is openly sold over the counter at supermarkets (FOOD stores) and tobacconists.

  • The Federal Government PROFITS from the sale of this drug, which has killed millions of people.

  • Nicotine addicts are openly exploited at the counter via exorbitant price hikes.

  • Smokers are not supplied with rehabilitation centers, support groups, safe houses, free nicotine, cheap nicotine.

  • Alcoholics and heroin addicts are treated with more understanding and basic regard, than smokers (purchasers of Federal Drugs) despite the number of lives lost to smoking-related illnesses dwarfing that of alcoholism and heroin combined.

  • Smokers are ABANDONED on weekends by Quitline who have informed me that they do not operate during this time because of a LACK OF FEDERAL AND STATE FUNDING.

  • Smoking CAUSES and exacerbates MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES including anxiety, depression and suicidal ideation.

 

How many BILLIONS does the Federal Government profit from the sale of nicotine cigarettes and nicotine-related products?

 

Why do they suggest they "cannot" allocate appropriate funds to Quitline, the ONLY support service provided, because "other services need the money"?

 

  • Am I to assume the following?

  • Government doesn't care about death on the weekends.

  • My habit is FUNDING other support programs, but not my own. Instead, I am abused.

  • The Federal Government is lying.

  • The State Government is misallocating funds.

  • Quitline has enough money but is passing the buck to the State, even though they've tried many times to acquire more funds, only to be met with the same NEGLIGENT RESPONSE.

 

I have spoken at length with the Quitline manager about the sabotage occurring. My attempt to quit smoking was sabotaged by State and Federal Government on the very first weekend I desperately needed support, during a lockdown, while I was in isolation, without friends or family to visit.

 

Quitline has been given 4 years funding in advance as of July 1 2021 but apparently it is not enough to run the program over the weekend WHEN SMOKERS NEED IT MOST.

 

Having failed to find a solution with Lindsay I urge you to take every course of action to have this fixed immediately. There is plenty of money to fund Quitline and any suggestion otherwise is untrue. There are solutions available right now and they must be actioned.

 

If Federal and State Government wish to exploit the nicotine-addict at the counter, then allocate their profits elsewhere and leave addicts without support on weekends, and this continues : - I am happy to continue liaising with the Quitline Manager to prepare a media release via all commercial channels.

 

I look forward to receiving your assurance that this matter has been escalated to Federal Level and that every action has been taken to correct the error of CRIMINAL NEGLECT AND ABUSE at the State Level.

 

In closing I would like to make this all very clear:

 

Smokers are human beings, not dogs. We have been hooked by drug pushers then kicked to the curb, kicked out of pubs and restaurants, kicked out of bars and cafes, judged and scorned while junkies get safe houses, exploited at the $till, LIED TO by Federal Government, then neglected by the ONLY support service provided : a hotline.

 

Overall this is no different to a cocaine dealer raking in billions of dollars and using the money to pay for private jets while his 'get off cocaine' hotline runs on pittance.

 

Dealing drugs to the public then failing to provide adequate quit-support is abhorrent and criminal in every context.

 

Thank you for your time and speedy response,

Sincerely,

Penelope Driessen