Independent Member for Shepparton District Suzanna Sheed says trialling a safe injecting room in North Richmond is a sensible step in dealing with the increasing number of drug overdoses in the area.
There were 34 heroin-related deaths in North Richmond last year and 35 already this year.
In February, a Victorian coroner recommended the introduction of a supervised injecting centre, a call backed by many first responders, including paramedics.
Ms Sheed visited the Medically Supervised Injecting Centre in Sydney’s King’s Cross earlier this month to see how it functions and to hear about its impact on the local community.
“It perhaps seems counter intuitive to provide drug users with a place to inject when the goal is to help them stop using altogether, but you can’t help people into rehabilitation if they are dying on the streets,” Ms Sheed said.
“Safe injecting rooms provide a point of intervention for drug users, giving them an opportunity to engage with support services and to stop the cycle of addition.
Premier Daniel Andrews announced the safe injecting trial, which would run for two years with an option to extend for another three years, yesterday.
“This is a trial and I would expect it to be monitored very closely to ensure any decision to extend the program further is made on solid evidence of harm minimisation and improvements to community amenity,” Ms Sheed said.
“There is clearly significant harm being done to drug users, their families and the local Richmond community and I will be interested to see if this trial has the outcomes we hope for.”
Riahn Smith 0419 138 978│firstname.lastname@example.org