Drug users will be permitted to inject ice

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ICE users will be permitted to inject the drug in Melbourne’s new supervised injecting room despite the State Government previously saying crystal methamphetamine would be banned from the centre.

The North Richmond injecting centre’s regulations say any drug of dependence can be injected at the medically supervised facility but users must have less than a trafficable amount.

Ice users will be able to take up to 3g of substance without penalty under medical supervision at the North Richmond facility.

Mental Health Minister Martin Foley said the government was following the advice of the expert panel, which includes Victoria Police.

“This trial will save lives and that’s why we’re doing it,” he said in a statement on Wednesday. Mr Foley said the regulations were in line with Sydney’s King Cross safe injecting room, which hasn’t had a death since opening more than 15 years ago.

“Even the Opposition spokesperson in her contribution to the parliamentary debate said that by making it only a heroin injecting room, it would miss many other Victorians who are multi drug users,” Mr Foley said.

Clients won’t have to book an appointment to use the centre but will have to meet eligibility requirements to gain access to the “safe” injecting room.

Under the centre’s guidelines, users must also answer a set questions, including their full name, and disclose a full list of drugs they intend to use. Only those aged over 18 who are not pregnant or accompanied by a child will be permitted access.

Persons who are intoxicated will be turned away. Nurses will be on hand to prevent overdoses and security staff will be stationed at the centre during opening hours. The government refused to reveal the number of staff or whether security would be beefed up due to the increased risk of violence posed by people using ice, The Age reported.

This is Aaron. His mum Cherie says he would still be alive today if he had access to a supervised injecting room. And I believe her. pic.twitter.com/cW1znYxPLc

— Daniel Andrews (@DanielAndrewsMP) October 30, 2017

Any client who appears to have drugs above the permitted amount will not be allowed inside the injecting room. Anyone with a criminal history will also not be allowed to work there, while those known to be on parole, bail, or subject to any other court or tribunal order will be banned from using drugs in the room.

The government previously announced the centre would be trialled in the inner-Melbourne overdose hotspot in a bid to battle the city’s heroin scourge and said methamphetamines and ice would be banned. It comes after the state coroner last year called for a trial of safe injecting rooms following a 16-year high in heroin deaths which saw up to 34 people die from overdoses near Victoria Street in 2017.

The two-year trial is set to start in Melbourne in June this year.

The facility will be the second in Australia, modelled on Sydney’s Kings Cross centre, which has managed more than 8000 cases without a single death, since it opened in 2001.

According to multiple independent evaluations of the centre, the number of ambulance call-outs to Kings Cross have been reduced by 80 per cent since Sydney’s Uniting Medically Supervised Injecting Centre (MSIC) opened.


Uniting MSIC medical director Dr Marianne Jauncey told news.com.au the introduction of a centre in Victoria was a “good decision that will save lives”.

“We don’t require them to provide us with identifying details. It is very important that we are a non-judgemental service that anybody can access,” Dr Jauncey said.

The Uniting MSIC in Kings Cross has eight booths that can seat two people and a staff member, including a registered nurse, who are on hand to keep an eye on things.

Clients are provided with clean equipment and are given advice on safer injecting practices.

“We provide them with clean injecting equipment and rather than giving it to them and then sending them away, people are welcome to do what they do in a clean and sanitary environment,” Dr Jauncey told news.com.au.

There are waste bins and a resuscitation room, which is used to treat people who are overdosing.

Dr Jauncey said since the centre has been opened, the number of needles found on the streets had plummeted because users were able to dispose of them at the centre

Once clients had finished injecting they were taken into the after care area where they have the option to stay until they are ready to leave.

Tea and coffee is available and staff provide clients with information about other services including housing, legal, social welfare, drug treatment and rehabilitation services.

Dr Jauncey said the Uniting MSIC was not much different from a typical health centre in terms of how clients were treated and how they responded to the service.

“It is just like a pretty typical health service. People come in on a voluntary basis, they are treated with respect and the response is usually positive,” she said.

“People thank us for treating them like a human being. I think stigma and shame stop a lot of people from asking for help. These types of services can improve people’s access to care.”

— With AAP

megan.palin@news.com.au | @Megan_Palin

Source link: http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/health/health-problems/melbourne-injecting-room-to-allow-ice-users-to-shootup/news-story/9d1dcc39efb64288b995e6356841149b


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