AMA Victoria backs safe injecting room trial for Melbourne

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AMA Victoria today launched a position paper calling for the establishment of a supervised injecting facility trial for Melbourne.

The peak doctors’ organisation says there is sufficient evidence to warrant further investigation of the concept and believes a trial should proceed.

“Safe injecting rooms are proven to have the capacity to reduce the number of deaths from drug overdose, reduce ambulance call-outs and hospital admissions, improve patient outcomes and improve public order. That’s why we support a trial for Victoria” said AMA Victoria President Dr Parnis today.

“Measures like this can prevent overdose and help control the spread of Hepatitis C, which is of increasingly high prevalence amongst Victorian drug users”

“Supervised injecting facilities have worked to reduce harm in Sydney’s King’s Cross and we’re hopeful they can do the same in Melbourne’s drug hotspots”.

A Supervised Injecting Facility in Sydney has now been in operation for ten years. Legislation to lift the trial status of the Sydney centre was passed in November 2010 and received bipartisan support in NSW.

Dr Parnis said that a safe supervised injecting facility would help to get addicts off the street and lead to better health and public order outcomes.

“the evidence is quite clear, safe injecting rooms can save lives and minimise the harm to the community caused by illicit drugs”

“It is much safer to keep drug related incidents off the street and public spaces” said Dr Parnis.

The Yarra Drug and Health Forum called for the establishment of a safe injecting room in 2011, a request that was rejected by the Baillieu Government.

In Victoria, there were 2033 heroin related ambulance attendances in 2009/10 (an increase from 1903 in 2008/09) with 60% of the attendances occurring in a public space.

Heroin related ambulance attendances were concentrated in certain areas with more than one in five attendances (22%) in the City of Yarra.

The 2010 National Drug Strategy Household Survey indicated that the majority of the Australian population support Supervised Injecting Facilities.

“We cannot allow prejudice to drive illicit drugs policy in Australia, we need to continually look at new ways to minimise the harm created by illicit drug use in our communities” said Dr Parnis at the launch of AMA Victoria position paper.

For more information, or to arrange an interview with Dr Parnis, please contact Struan Robertson on 0437 450 506

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