Ms PATTEN (Northern Metropolitan) (18:05): (2122) My adjournment matter is for the Minister for Police, and the action I seek relates to opioid overdose. As the minister is very aware, there was a recent sizeable seizure of fentanyl coming in via a Melbourne port. As we all know, the potential to dramatically heighten the risk of accidental overdose in this state is now apparent with fentanyl hitting our shores. But overdose death is entirely preventable, even with fentanyl, by using Nyxoid, a naloxone nasal spray. It is an opiate agonist that reverses the life-threatening effects of a known or suspected opioid overdose. It is easy to administer and it is life saving.
Some years ago I was visiting Vancouver and we were being taken around by the police there. They were proudly showing us their supervised injecting facilities and their heroin testing when they saw a person overdose on fentanyl on the street. The police officer raced to that person, gave them some naloxone and saved that person’s life. I was there with now deputy commissioner of police Rick Nugent, and he saw it as well as I did. North Richmond’s safe injecting room equally provides life-saving assistance on a daily basis by ensuring that opioid injecting takes place in a safe space. This has recently been proven by the latest overdose statistics, which show that opioid overdoses are down 60 per cent in Yarra compared to only 15 per cent across the state.
The action I am seeking tonight relates to police in Richmond, Fitzroy and the Melbourne CBD, and it is twofold: firstly, that the minister ensures that all police stationed in these precincts are inducted in relation to the medically supervised injecting room and visit that facility so they can better understand how the centre operates and the discretion required for its operation. As we saw in Canada, the police are great supporters of these types of facilities. Further, I ask that the minister require all police stationed in Richmond, Fitzroy and the CBD area to carry Nyxoid with them whilst on duty for use in the event of an overdose.
Fiona Patten MP
Leader of Reason
Member for Northern Metropolitan Region
I thank the Member for her question.
I sought advice from Victoria Police on the matters raised. I am advised that police officers who work at police stations within the vicinity of the medically supervised injecting room have an understanding of the purpose and role of the facility and undertake policing functions in accordance with developed operating procedures.
The carriage and use of agonist drugs such as Nyxoid remains within the purview of medically trained personnel such as paramedics.
Victoria Police policy requires all police, Protective Services Officers (PSOs) and Police Custody Officers (PCOs) to hold first aid certification. Training, including refresher training (conducted every three years), is undertaken to attain and maintain at a minimum a basic first aid qualification. Such training provides responding police, PSOs and PCOs with first aid skills to assist injured or medically compromised persons while ambulance, paramedic or other medical services are engaged.
Hon Anthony Carbines MP
Minister for Police
Minister for Crime Prevention