20 May 2013
Melbourne desperately needs supervised injecting facilities to reduce overdoses and the transmission of HIV and Hepatitis C amongst injecting drug users.
Australian Drug Foundation's Director of Policy Geoff Munro said the release of the Burnet Institute's North Richmond Public Injecting Impact Study shows access to sterile injecting equipment will benefit the whole community.
"Injecting rooms help save lives, reduce disease transmission and provide a referral point for those seeking treatment," Mr Munro said.
"The study shows that injecting drug use is widespread and very visible in some areas, particularly in North Richmond and Abbotsford, leading to public concern about the impact of discarded syringes and placing strains on local residents and businesses."
Mr Munro said evaluation of the Kings Cross supervised injecting facility in Sydney found it:
- decreased drug overdose deaths,
- provided opportunities for referral,
- reduced blood born virus transmission (HIV/AIDS/Hep C), and
- reduced problems with public injecting and discarded needles.
"People who use drugs have a health problem and should have access to effective treatment and rehabilitation. By providing somewhere dedicated for drug users to go and get clean syringes and administer their drugs, we'd be helping connect them to the services available."
"We need to tackle these issues sensibly and based on the evidence showing how to reduce the risks of people being harmed by drug use. These facilities are already operating in other parts of the world."
"This is not about encouraging people to inject but recognising that some people do and taking measures to reduce the harm for those people and those around them."
Media contact: Jennifer Willis: 0430 948 380,