The troubled North Richmond area is to get its medically supervised injecting room trial, which is hoped to help drive drug users into treatment.
Harm minimisation proponent and pharmacist Angelo Pricolo today welcomed the Andrews Government’s decision to undertake an initial two-year trial of a medically supervised injecting facility, which will commence from June 2018.
The Andrews Labor Government made the announcement as part of a package intended to take on “skyrocketing” ice and heroin deaths in Victoria.
Its $87 million Drug Rehabilitation Plan is intended to build on existing work commenced through the Ice Action Plan, and will include expanded treatment, boosted training and a further 100 residential rehabilitation beds, as well as the injecting room.
New residential rehab facilities will be established in key regional areas, and a new rapid detox withdrawal model will be trialed for people with particularly complex addiction and conditions who present at hospital.
The Government will also address the drug problem from a law enforcement perspective, increasing sentences for commercial heroin traffickers to bring them in line with new ice trafficking sentences; targeting “dodgy” rehabilitation providers; and focusing on organised crime.
The Government says it is concerned that more Victorians are losing their lives to heroin overdose, with numbers approaching those of 20 years ago.
Two people reportedly lost their lives to overdose in the area just since the weekend.
“Too many people are dying in Richmond and it has to end,” says member for Richmond Richard Wynne.
“This is bold, brave action that will give addicts a chance at survival and make our streets safer.”
Angelo Pricolo, who has recently hosted harm minimisation forums for pharmacists and other interested health professionals, told the AJP that this is “a historic moment”.
“This has been a 20-year struggle,” he says. “It’s now time to organise it in a way that will maximise the harm minimisation philosophy and provide treatment options.
“If the injecting room in Sydney has taught us anything, it’s that once it becomes operational, and the benefits are realised, more people will become supportive, from residents to local businesses and the broader health sector.”
This was originally published by AJP.