Supervised injection centre “essential”, says Coroner
“…I am convinced that a safe injecting facility in North Richmond is an essential intervention that could reduce the risk of future heroin overdose deaths…”
Victorian Coroner Jacqui Hawkins has today thrown her support behind a trial of a medically supervised injection centre (MSIC) in North Richmond – making the statement that it could save lives.
Last month a coronial inquest was held into the death of a 34-year-old Victorian mother who overdosed in a toilet of a fast-food restaurant in North Richmond.
The inquest heard there were 172 heroin overdose deaths in Victoria last year – 34 died after buying heroin in the City of Yarra. Of those deaths, 19 were in the North Richmond area known as the “heroin rectangle”.
In handing down her findings today Coroner Jacqui Hawkins said a safe injecting facility in North Richmond was essential.
“In conclusion, I support the establishment of a pilot safe injecting facility in North Richmond and accordingly have made that recommendation.”
A medically supervised injection centre would not only save lives, it would:
- Free-up police to tackle other law and order issues
- Reduce the amount of needles and syringes being left on the streets making the community safer
- Reduce the number of emergency service call-outs to overdoses, allowing them to attend other emergency situations
- Reduce the number of incidents where members of the community are exposed to traumatic scenes of overdosing and people using drugs
- Refer highly vulnerable people to various health and welfare services
The United Firefighters Union calls on all members of Victorian Parliament to act and support a MSIC trial in North Richmond.
As well as the first responders, the people of Richmond have had enough of their children stepping used syringes and witnessing drug use in public.
Residents, health experts, emergency services and now the Coroner fully support a trial of a MSIC.
In the past 30 years there have been more than 90 medically supervised injecting facilities set up across the globe, operating in 10 different countries – all of which are preventing deaths and creating pathways to treatment every day.