The Department of Health and Human Services is coordinating a trial of a medically supervised injecting room at North Richmond Community Health.
With the high numbers of Victorians losing their lives to drug-related overdoses, the medically supervised injecting room (MSIR) is a safety-first, medical approach focused on harm reduction.
The MSIR provides a gateway for clients to link with other health and social services, ensuring they have access to the full range of treatment and support they need to reduce harm from their drug use and ultimately overcome their drug dependency.
The MSIR aims to reduce overdose deaths and harm, and improve neighbourhood amenity for the local community, through reducing the incidence of public injecting, and reducing the number of discarded needles and syringes in neighbouring public areas.
The MSIR operates under strict oversight including:
- legislation to ensure the room can only operate at the North Richmond Community Health site for the duration of the trial
- allowing only people aged over 18 years to use the injecting room
- ensuring that illegal drugs won't be provided or dealt at the facility
- security stationed inside and outside the facility
- additional security measures, including CCTV cameras near the facility and in surrounding streets
- working closely with the Department of Health and Human Services and Victoria Police to support community safety while minimising drug harm.
The service was established for an initial two-year trial period, which will be extended for a further three years, based on the evidence gathered in the initial period and on recommendation from the independent review panel. You can learn more about the review panel and their work at the medically supervised injecting room independent review panel page.
Between 30 June 2018 and 31 March 2020, staff at the MSIR safely managed more than 3,200 overdoses, and provided thousands of health and social support interventions including wound care, blood-borne virus treatment, alcohol and other drug treatment, mental health support, dental care, family violence support, social welfare and material aid. More detail about services provided at the MSIR are available from North Richmond Community Health’s website.
The Department of Health and Human Services and North Richmond Community Health are working together with key stakeholders including local residents, schools, businesses, Victoria Police and Yarra City Council to ensure they are engaged with and informed throughout the trial.
In their review of the MSIR, the independent panel recommend that the government expand the current trial to include another supervised injecting service in an appropriate location within the City of Melbourne where there were 51 tragic heroin-related deaths between January 2015 and September 2019. The Victorian Government accepted this recommendation and will be implementing a second supervised injecting service to address the high levels of drug harm in the City of Melbourne.
If you would like more information about the service, please email AOD enquiries.