The announcement of Victoria’s first Medically Supervised Injecting Centre (MSIC) by the Victorian Government is to be embraced according to REASON Party Leader and Victorian Upper House MP Fiona Patten.
“I congratulate Daniel Andrews for his about-face and for seeing REASON in evidence-based policy by adopting my Private Members Bill, put before Victoria’s Legislative Council in February this year,” said Fiona Patten MLC, Member for Northern Metropolitan Region.
The Government’s announcement today is a direct response to the Upper House Committee Inquiry which Fiona Patten’s Bill initiated. It has taken three Coroners Reports and dozens of submissions to the Committee Inquiry demanding a MSIC be urgently established before this life-saving pilot was approved by Cabinet. Is that REASONable?
“My bill was brought about due to the tireless advocacy of grief-stricken families, paramedics, key stakeholders working on the front line, residents, researchers and health professionals across Victoria. The needless deaths in North Richmond this year alone are REASON enough for this Government to act and today they finally have!” explained Ms Patten.
As revealed in the press yesterday, Victoria has experienced a dramatic increase in heroin overdoses, with North Richmond identified as the state’s tragic epicentre.
Australia’s first MSIC opened in 2001 as a stand-alone facility in Sydney’s King’s Cross. Since it opened, thousands of lives have been saved and no deaths have occurred on site. The North Richmond MSIC will be an improvement on the Sydney model as it’s located adjacent to primary care and allied health services.
“The global evidence is clear that criminal sanctions only perpetuate the carnage. It has to stop. I hope this is the first step towards treating drug use as a health matter. It saves lives. It saves taxpayer dollars. It frees up our emergency services. It reduces crime and it delivers positive outcomes for individuals and society,” concluded Fiona Patten MP
– Fiona Patten MP