Image: The medically-supervised safe injecting room in North Richmond, Victoria
A Burnet Institute report has recommended that a medically supervised drug injection room be opened in Canberra, with the ACT government to undertake community consultation before making a final decision.
Led by Professor Paul Dietze, Burnet Program Director Behaviours and Health Risks, the report found there was support for an injection room from local stakeholders and the wider community, but noted further work was needed to build understanding of the rooms.
“All the evidence suggests that the population of the ACT is more supportive of safe injecting rooms than other parts of the community,” Professor Dietze said.
“But that in itself is not enough, and the ACT government now needs to engage in public consultation that’s balanced and appropriate.”
Commissioned by the ACT government, the report incorporated a needs analysis and detailed review of injecting room models in use in Australia and internationally.
It recommended that only a small facility should be established in a central location such as Civic, where it would be used by up to 120 people daily.
The report recommended the facility be co-located with existing support services such as homeless or medical services.
ACT Minister for Health, Rachel Stephen-Smith said in addition to community consultation, further scoping work would include development of an appropriate model for the facility.
“The findings from this report will help to inform further community discussion as we continue to develop policies and initiatives that reduce the harms associated with drug use,” Minister Stephen-Smith said.