Distance affects usage of Richmond’s supervised injecting facility

Image: The North Richmond Medically Supervised Injecting Room (MSIR)

More supervised injecting facilities should be considered in Melbourne to overcome the distance barrier for people to access the service, according to the findings of a new Burnet-led report published by the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC).

Lead author, Burnet Institute’s Professor Paul Dietze, told the Herald Sun‘s Suzan Delibasic that there should be medically supervised injecting rooms (MSIR) built in the CBD, and also considered in Footscray, St Kilda and Frankston.

The report found the most frequent reason for not using the current MSIR in North Richmond was “too far from where I live”, highlighting it said “the need for the expansion of supervised injecting facilities to other areas of Melbourne”.

Professor Dietze said there were “multiple” injecting rooms in cities around the world with ­dispersed drug markets like Melbourne’s.

“Ideally you would place facilities where the harms are occurring and where the people are going to be able to use them,” he said.

“It’s not just about inner suburbs; Richmond is one place with a very active street-based drug market.

“Footscray has traditionally had one, too, and some of the outer suburbs as well, such as Frankston has … drug-related harm for years.”

He added St Kilda was a unique case where “there’s a lot of drug use associated with street-based sex work” so it “could be a location worth exploring”.

Speaking to Rafael Epstein on ABC Radio Melbourne’s Drive program, Professor Dietze said we’ve seen really good evidence that MSIRs work to save lives, reduce morbidities, and they also attract people who are the most vulnerable.

Click here to read the Herald Sun article.

Click here to read the report.

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