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Thursday, 6 March 1980
Page: 620

Senator MASON (NEW SOUTH WALES) - The Minister representing the Minister for Health may recall that last year I raised the question of the safety of valium for use especially by young children. I think that at that stage an undertaking was made to give me some sort of reply to my request for a survey. I ask the Minister whether she is aware of statements appearing in this morning's Melbourne Age by Dr Anne Schlebaum, who is deputy director of a New South Wales Health Commission child unit at North Ryde. Dr Schlebaum was speaking at the Pan Pacific Conference on Drug and Alcohol Use. The article stated:

Drug abuse was a hidden but increasingly widespread threat, producing child zombies, baby junkies, and malformed foetuses, a doctor warned yesterday. One in two children under five is routinely medicated and thousands of crying babies are silenced with valium syrup, . . .

I ask the Minister: Will she please go back to the Minister for Health, as months have elapsed since I raised this matter, and inquire again for me whether anything is being done about this immense social problem?


I will refer Senator Mason's question to the Minister for Health. I will refer the article in the Melbourne Age mentioned by the honourable senator to the Minister to seek a response on that matter. Also I will refer to the earlier question to see whether information has been provided.

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