Reason Leader and Member for Northern Metropolitan, Fiona Patten, says the Medically Supervised Injecting Centre (MSIC) in North Richmond is very deserving of its award at the 2019 National Alcohol and Other Drugs Excellence and Innovation Awards last night.
North Richmond Community Health was given the ‘Reduction of Harm Award’ for the MSIC initiative, scored by a panel of 12 judges from across the country and from a range of sectors.
Ms Patten said the team at North Richmond Community Health were very worthy recipients because the MSIC was working, saving lives and getting people into much-needed treatment and recovery.
“I congratulate the team for rolling out and managing the MSIC pilot program, they should be very proud of their achievements,” Ms Patten said.
“What we know is, in its first nine months staff at the injecting centre carried out more than 3,300 health and social support interventions. More than 250 people have started opioid replacement treatment or have been referred to other forms or drug and alcohol treatment, while 40 have entered treatment for hepatitis. And ambulance data from February for callouts for North Richmond, revealed that callouts halved when the injecting centre was open.”
However, Ms Patten acknowledged that there needed to be continuous improvements made to the centre and the surrounding area to get this trial right.
“We need more centres open across the city, in places like St Kilda and Footscray, to meet the demands we’re seeing at North Richmond,” she said.
“And we will keep working with drug users and continue to listen to the community on this issue.”
MSIC Medical Director Nico Clark said at the awards last night that he was very proud to be a recipient.
“Our staff work tirelessly to meet the needs of our clients who are often marginalised in our society. We receive wonderful feedback from our clients who say that they feel a deep sense of gratitude for the work that we do, so we dedicate this award to our clients as well,” Dr Clark said.
The prestigious awards, which were this year hosted by the Alcohol and Drug Foundation (ADF), recognises and celebrates the achievements of people and organisations doing exceptional work to prevent and reduce alcohol and other drug harms in Australia.
ADF Chief Executive Officer, Dr Erin Lalor, said the awards were a great opportunity to shine the spotlight on the hard work being done to reduce and prevent harms caused by alcohol and other drugs.