Medically Supervised Injecting Centre

In February, 2017, I introduced my bill, the Drugs Poisons and Controlled Substances Amendment (Medically Supervised Injecting Centre Pilot) Bill 2017 to Parliament. It passed the first reading on the 2nd of July, 2017, but, weeks later, stalled on the second reading. A reasoned amendment moved by the Government referred the bill to the Legal and Social Issues Committee, adjourning debate.

 

The evidence before that committee was overwhelmingly supportive and the committee findings included:

– Drug use in North Richmond has reached crisis level. It is a major concern for residents, business owners and emergency services.

– The objectives of the Bill reflect the health and community harms associated with intravenous drug use.

– MSIC’s improve the health of injecting drug users and reduce the signs of drug use in surrounding streets.

– Evaluations of the MSIC in Sydney found evidence of public amenity benefits to the local community and reduced demand for ambulance services. The evaluations did not find evidence of the MSIC having a ‘honey pot’ effect on crime.

 

By this point, public outcry for a Medically Supervised Injecting Centre (MSIC) trial in North Richmond had become too hard to ignore. Experts, medical practitioners, residents and first responders were all voicing strong support amongst a 16-year spike in heroin related deaths. Finally, on the 31st of October, 2017, the Andrews Government gave a Medically Supervised Injecting Centre in North Richmond the green light.

The pilot program will start in early 2018 and run for 18 months, at which point the data can be reviewed and presented to Parliament. I anticipate that the evidence will strongly point towards making the centre a permanent fixture.

This will undoubtedly save many lives and clean up our streets – ending the needle nightmare in North Richmond.

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