More lives will be saved and more people will get treatment, counselling and pathways out of addiction with the expansion of the Medically Supervised Injecting Room.
The new, larger facility opens its doors today and will provide more capacity for supervised injecting, longer operating hours and better support services.
Drug use is an issue the local community has dealt with for many years. The trial of a MSIR was recommended by the Coroner and by a Parliamentary Inquiry. It gives people who inject drugs a safe place to go and links them to health and other services they need to help turn their lives around.
The Labor Government has funded additional outreach workers to ensure people who use drugs have every opportunity to access the MSIR and Victoria Police are continuing extra patrols to crack down on those who continue to be at the centre of anti-social behaviour.
The MSIR has been in operation for 12 months and is making a big difference saving lives. In the first year of operation, staff have safely responded to more than 1,232 overdoses, which may have otherwise been fatal, while more than 2,941 people have used the facility.
The MSIR’s unique model as part of a wider health facility has seen more than a third of clients seek support for other healthcare, and a quarter seek help accessing drug and alcohol treatment.
The MSIR is part of the Government’s efforts to make the community safer and reduce drug use on the streets.
Security patrols have been increased, assertive outreach services have been doubled, lighting will be improved at the housing estate and street sweeps for syringes are occurring more regularly.
The extended opening hours in effect from today will see the MSIR open from 7:00am to 9:00pm on weekdays, and 8:00am to 7:00pm on weekends. The extended hours, boosted security, additional police and the extra outreach workers mean people who inject drugs now have every reason to use the service.
Additional police and continuing operations to crack down on trafficking and other criminal behaviour will make North Richmond safer for all residents.
As noted by Minister for Mental Health Martin Foley
“We’ve taken action to keep people who use drugs safe from overdose, and now we’re turning our attention to cleaning up the streets of North Richmond.”
“We’ll always treat people struggling with drug addiction with compassion, but now that all of the facilities are up and running, it’s important that we see people using them – and off the streets.”
As noted by Member for Richmond Richard Wynne
“The larger Medically Supervised Injecting Room is a world class facility that will provide vital support, treatment opportunities, and medical services to people struggling with addiction issues.”