Yarra City Council today welcomed the Victorian Government’s three-year extension to the Medically Supervised Injecting Facility in Richmond and the introduction of a second facility, expected to be located in the City of Melbourne.
Yarra also supports the Government’s $9 million commitment to improve local amenity around the North Richmond facility, including significant improvements to the nearby public housing estate.
Yarra Mayor, Cr Misha Coleman, described the announcements as an important next step in addressing drug harm and dependency in the community and ensuring we continue to build on the positive outcomes achieved through the trial.
“This is about saving lives and addressing a very real and long-term public health issue – we actually probably need five or six facilities across Melbourne – but second one will make a huge difference,” Cr Coleman said.
“More than 3200 overdoses have been safely managed at the facility, with staff providing an additional 13,000 health and social support interventions for issues like mental health, housing and family violence. That support and life-saving work cannot be overstated.
“Extending the trial for a further three years and the introduction of a second site in Melbourne will ensure we build on these positive outcomes and focus on a harm minimisation approach to this issue,” Cr Coleman said.
Yarra City Council has been a strong advocate for a harm minimisation approach to illicit drug use for more than two decades and supports the expert advice that medically supervised injecting facilities are proven to save lives.
Cr Coleman also said the Victorian Government’s $9 million commitment to improve local amenity around the North Richmond facility, including the nearby public housing estate, was greatly needed.
“We welcome this investment which will be targeted at improving amenity and public housing facilities in the nearby area. Minister Foley has also made a commitment that the decisions about these investments will be led by the community – to ensure that the highest priority needs are met though this new expenditure – I’m so pleased to hear this,” Cr Coleman said.
The North Richmond area was chosen by the Victorian Government for the Medically Supervised Injecting Facility trial due to the number of drug-related overdoses and deaths in the surrounding area. Prior to the centre opening, a number of people died from overdoses in public spaces.