There’s a renewed push for a safe injecting facility in an inner-Melbourne suburb that’s been plagued by heroin abuse.
The streets of the city-fringe suburb of North Richmond just south-east of Melbourne have long been a hotbed of heroin dealing and use.
The suburb already has an exchange where users are given clean needles, but they’re then forced onto the street to inject.
That’s unlike Sydney’s safe injecting facility in Kings Cross, which permits users to inject in a supervised environment.
Auditing firm KPMG assessed the Sydney model after 10 years and found that it both reduced drug-related deaths and exposed users to qualified carers.
Sex Party MP Fiona Pattern has introduced a private member’s bill to the Victorian Parliament for a similar safe injecting room to be subject to an 18-month trial in Melbourne.
She says it is a proven model.
“We have seen the evidence in New South Wales and around the world that systems like this centres like this actually work – they save lives they reduce ambulance call outs – they improve the amenity of the area,” she said.
Concurrent inquiries into heroin overdoses are ongoing in Victoria, but according to Health Minister Jill Hennessy current policy doesn’t include a safe injecting facility.
“We’ve got no plans to introduce such a model I always bring an open mind to evidence and I’ll be looking at the results of the parliamentry inquiry and the coronial inqest with great interest,” she said.