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Government VIC, Medical Health Aged Care

Monash Experts: State Government rejection of a second supervised injecting room

Monash University 3 mins read

The Victorian Government has responded to the newly released report of Ken Lay AO APM into a second medically supervised injecting room in Melbourne’s CBD.

The former police commissioner was appointed by the State Government to lead an independent consultation and provide advice on a medically supervised injecting service trial in the City of Melbourne.

Today the Victorian Government has announced a second supervised injecting facility will not proceed, instead announcing a $95.11 million Statewide Action Plan. 

This announcement comes off the back of the Ken Lay report finding a “continuing and clear need” for a supervised injecting service trial in Melbourne’s CBD. 

Monash University academics are available to comment on the findings of the report along with the recent decision by the Victorian Government. 
 
Available to comment: 

Professor Dan Lubman, Director of Turning Point and Director of the Monash Addiction Research Centre
Contact details: +61, (0) 408 284 178 or dan.lubman@monash.edu 
Read more of Professor Lubman’s commentary at Monash Lens 

  • Addiction
  • Drug-related harm
  • Mental health 

The following can be attributed to Professor Lubman:

“I am disappointed by the Victorian Government’s announcement this morning that there will be no supervised injecting service trial in the City of Melbourne.

“Australians believe and understand the importance of public health. They believe that every life matters, and that preventing harm and saving lives should guide our actions.

“But when it comes to addiction, the best evidence and the most effective harm reduction approaches are too often ignored.

“While the additional services announced today are welcome, there is an established body of local and international evidence that shows that supervised injecting services are effective harm reduction and life-saving initiatives.

“These services ensure people do not fatally overdose, and reduce demand on ambulance and emergency services. They also connect people with other health and support services.

“In the City of Melbourne, heroin-related ambulance attendances have been steadily increasing since 2014.

“In contrast, ambulance attendances in the City of Yarra - where the Richmond supervised injecting service opened in 2019 - have been decreasing.

“The Ryan Review of the Richmond facility found that since its establishment in 2018, the site has achieved its central objective: saving lives.

“It’s imperative we continue to provide this level of care for everyone.”

Professor Suzanne Nielsen, opioid expert and Deputy Director, Monash Addiction Research Centre
Contact details: +61 (0)437 629 158 , or suzanne.nielsen@monash.edu 
Read more of Professor Nielsen’s commentary at Monash Lens

  • Addiction
  • How a medically supervised safe injecting room works
  • The public health gains
  • The implications of making the North Richmond facility ongoing
  • Whether Melbourne is ready for a second safe injecting room

The following can be attributed to Professor Nielsen:

“Melbourne has the highest rates of heroin harm in the country and these are centred in the CBD. We urgently need to upscale a range of effective harm reduction interventions. This includes supervised injecting facilities (also known as drug consumption rooms). This is especially so with the threat of high potency opioids such as nitazenes being detected in Australia.

“It is a false dichotomy to say we are choosing between a supervised injecting room and treatment - we urgently need more of both.

“The government made a clear commitment to a second site years ago now and if anything, the need has become greater and the evidence has become stronger.  

“Trials of new treatment options are important, but they do not replace the need for these harm reduction services, and we know from the Richmond service, that a supervised injecting room is an ideal way to get people into treatment.

“We also know that most Australians support supervised injecting rooms. The more recently National Drug Strategy Household Survey demonstrated this. 

“Not supporting this service and having people injecting drugs unsafely in public places in the CBD, where they could have been supported in a health service is not a win for traders or the community.”

For more Monash media stories visit our news & events site: monash.edu/news

For any other topics on which you may be seeking expert comment, contact the Monash University Media Unit on +61 3 9903 4840 or media@monash.edu

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