The Andrews Labor Government is stepping up its efforts to save more Victorian lives at risk of overdose and keep the North Richmond community safe.
Minister for Mental Health Martin Foley and Member for Richmond Richard Wynne today announced a package of improvements aimed at saving more lives and protecting the community.
Security patrols will be stepped up, and assertive outreach services will be doubled to provide increased client engagement and visibility around the area to help people with drug addiction. Lighting will also be improved at the nearby housing estate and car park, and street sweeps for used syringes will be increased as part of the reforms.
Former Chief Commissioner of Police Ken Lay AO has been appointed to the Medically Supervised Injecting Room (MSIR) review panel, replacing Associate Professor Alex Cockram, who is now serving as a Commissioner for the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System.
The Labor Government established a two-year trial of an MSIR last year and it’s saving lives. More than 2,200 clients have used the service, and staff have safely managed more than 650 overdoes that may have otherwise been fatal.
The centre, which is part of a health facility, has also seen more than a third of clients request support for other healthcare, and a quarter of clients request alcohol and other drug treatment to help turn their lives around.
The latest Ambulance Victoria data shows drug-related callouts have decreased during the injecting room’s opening hours – reversing the trend in recent years.
That’s why the Labor Government will extend the opening hours of the centre by three hours a day once the larger facility currently being built replaces the current interim facility in the coming months.
The change will see the MSIR open from 7:00am and 9:00pm on weekdays, and 8:00am and 7:00pm on weekends.
The Labor Government has increased funding for alcohol and other drug services by 57 per cent over the past four Victorian Budgets, including a record $259.9 million in last year’s Budget alone.
As noted by Minister for Mental Health Martin Foley
“The Medically supervised injecting room is doing exactly what it was designed to do – save lives.
“Former Chief Commissioner of Police Ken Lay AO will bring a wealth of experience and insight as the new member of the Medically Supervised Injecting Room Review Panel.”
“We’ve listened to the experts. Opening the Medically Supervised Injecting Room for longer will mean people who need it have a place to go.”
As noted by Minister for Housing and Member for Richmond Richard Wynne
“We’ve listened to the community and will provide more security patrols and better lighting in the area.”
“The Medically Supervised Injecting Room trial was an important first step in addressing an issue that the community has dealt with for many years. Now we’re listening to the concerns of nearby housing residents and going further.”