The Victorian Greens have called on the Government to remove restrictions on who can use the Medically Supervised Injecting Room (MSIR) in Richmond, following news of a recent overdose.
Local residents have been concerned about anti-social behaviour outside the MSIR.
In response, the Greens have put forward four solutions:
- Remove restrictions on who can use the injecting room so that teenagers, pregnant women, those wanting their friends to inject them and those on court orders can inject
- Make methadone and other opiate-replacement therapies more available and affordable
- Identify where in Melbourne users of the room are coming from and, if this demonstrates another area of need, consider establishing other injecting rooms in those areas
- The State Government should work more closely with Yarra Council on local services to meet the needs of people in this area
Victorian Greens spokesperson for health, Dr Tim Read, said the MSIR was a vital harm reduction measure but should be made more accessible to those at risk of overdose, which should also reduce the number of people injecting outside.
Quotes attributable to Victorian Greens spokesperson for health, Dr Tim Read:
“We don't yet know how this teenager died, but this awful incident reminds us that drug-use has no age limit and neither should harm-reduction.
“The trial of the safe injecting room should continue. But the Government must look at how it can best support and protect the community.
“The real danger of closing or moving the safe injecting room is that the heroin problem that preceded it will remain and the deaths will increase. We need more safe injecting rooms, not fewer.”