The Andrews Labor Government is moving forward with plans to reduce drug harm and save lives, with the Medically Supervised Injecting Room to open in the coming days.
Minister for Mental Health Martin Foley toured the new facility in North Richmond today ahead of its opening for a two-year trial, which aims to lower overdose deaths and harm, reduce the number of dirty needles in public areas, and make the neighbourhood safer for local residents and businesses.
The facility is housed in the North Richmond Community Health precinct and will link clients with health and other support services – ensuring they have access to the full range of education and treatment needed to ultimately kick their drug dependency.
An independent panel of experts will review the trial and report in 2020. The panel will be chaired by Professor Margaret Hamilton AO, alongside fellow panel members Associate Professor Alex Cockram and Mr John Ryan.
Professor Hamilton has more than 45 years’ experience in the alcohol and drug field, including clinical work, education, research and policy development. She was also founding Director of Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre and an Executive member of the Australian National Council on Drugs.
Associate Professor Cockram has 30 years’ experience in private and public clinical, academic and senior leadership positions, including as Interim Chief Executive Officer of the Metropolitan Fire Brigade and Chief Executive Officer of Western Health.
Mr Ryan is a recognised leader in public health and safety approaches to drugs. He is the former CEO of Anex, and is currently a member of the Premier’s Ice Action Taskforce and President of Harm Reduction International.
The legislation enabling the facility specifies one licence to operate a Medically Supervised Injecting Room, with the location of the facility at North Richmond Community Health written into law.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Mental Health Martin Foley
"I have spoken to so many families who have lost loved ones because the current ways of dealing with drug addiction simply aren't working. This is about saving lives and reducing the impact of drugs on our community."
"Our world-class Medically Supervised Injecting Room has referral and support services that will help people overcome their addiction and get their lives back on track."
Quote attributable to Member for Richmond Richard Wynne
“Too many people are dying in Richmond and it has to end. This will give addicts a chance at survival and make our streets safer.”
Quote attributable to Medically Supervised Injecting Room Medical Director Dr Nico Clark
“We believe in supporting the health and wellbeing of every single member of our community. We are committed to providing a service which not only reduces overdose deaths, but helps create a safer environment for everyone.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020