The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (Victorian Branch) welcomes the Andrews Government decision to trial a medically supervised injecting room at North Richmond Community Health.
The two-year trial will be supported with an increase of an additional 100 residential rehabilitation beds. New powers under the Victorian Health Complaints Act will also be available to crack down on unregulated private and for-profit rehab operators.
ANMF supported the harm minimisation and health approach in a joint submission, with the Victorian Trades Hall Council, to the Victorian parliamentary inquiry into medically supervised injecting facilities earlier this year.
ANMF (Vic Branch) Secretary Lisa Fitzpatrick said ‘It’s heartening to see a government listening to evidence, changing its mind and making bold decisions to address significant health and safety issues affecting Victorians.
‘Sydney’s safe injecting room experience and evidence indicates a trial in Melbourne will save lives. Sydney has managed around 6000 overdoses and has not had one fatal overdose in its 16 years.’
A report by the Australian Drug Foundation says 70 per cent of the people visiting the medically supervised injecting centre in Sydney’s Kings Cross had never accessed any local health services prior to their visit.
‘Importantly the trial will provided unique opportunities for life changing conversations between people with drug addictions and nurses and doctors to help them access rehabilitation and support services where they can start taking positive steps to recover,’ Ms Fitzpatrick said.
‘A law and order only approach is not working for the residents of North Richmond or those with a drug addiction who are drawn to the area. These people are daughters, sons, sisters, brothers, mothers and fathers and the reasons for their addiction can be complex and the consequences are far reaching on their friends and families.
‘As a society we are spending spend way too much at the crisis end of this issue once a person has overdosed, this trial will save and improve lives and facilitate a far better use of local police resources and reduce criminal system costs,’ Ms Fitzpatrick said.