A detailed evaluation of Victoria’s first medically supervised injection facility will be required to inform longer-term planning beyond the initial two-year trial period, according to Burnet Institute Program Director, Behaviours and Health Risks, Professor Paul Dietze.
Situated at the North Richmond Community Health Centre, the facility is set to open this weekend to address the high numbers of Victorians losing their lives to drug-related overdoses.
A total of 35 people died from overdoses related to heroin purchased in the City of Yarra in 2015 alone. It’s estimated that up to 300 people per day could use the new facility.
Professor Dietze said Burnet has a longstanding interest in issues related to injecting drug use, overdose and other related harms.
“We’ve done a lot of work around North Richmond, and we believe this work has contributed to the idea that this facility might be something that should be pursued there, so we welcome the government’s initiative,” he said.
“At various times over the past 20 years there’s been bipartisan support for supervised injecting facilities so there should be progress there.
“However we do recommend that there needs to be a significant effort put into a rigorous scientific evaluation that stands up to international scrutiny, and we’re fortunate to have the very best data available for rigorous evaluation.
“We note the appointment of an expert review panel chaired by Margaret Hamilton and we look forward to their work in this domain.”
The facility will enable clients to link with other health and support services providing access to the full range of education and treatment they to need to reduce harm from their drug use and beat their dependency.
It will also work to improve amenity for local residents and businesses, and reduce the number of discarded needles and syringes in the neighbouring areas.
Find out more about Burnet’s Behaviours and Health Risks program.