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 trial will take place for an initial two-year period until 29 June 2020, with an option to extend the trial for a further three years. An independent panel will review the trial and report on their findings in 2020.

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.

A transitional MSIR commenced operations on 30 June 2018, using existing space in the North Richmond Community Health building while a larger, purpose-built facility was established on the same site.

In the first year of operation at this transitional facility, staff safely managed more than 1,230 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.

The larger facility opened its doors on 7 July 2019, and provides more capacity for supervised injecting, longer operating hours and more health and social support services. 

The Department of Health and Human Services and North Richmond Community Health are working together with key stakeholders including  local residents, schools, businesses and the City of Yarra to ensure they are engaged with and informed throughout the trial.

If you would like more information about the service, please download the frequently asked questions, email AOD enquiries or call (03) 9096 7183 (Monday to Friday, 9:30am – 4:30pm).