New harm reduction initiatives
In February, the Minister for Mental Health, Martin Foley MP, announced an additional investment of $1.3 million this year to help to reduce drug related harm and fatal overdoses across Victoria. This funding will support a range of harm reduction measures, including:
Increased access to Naloxone
Funding will be made available to service providers across the state to subsidise the cost of Naloxone, expanding its availability both in current hotspots for overdose and across the rest of Victoria. In addition, training will be provided for families, friends and front line workers to identify the signs of overdose and safely administer the lifesaving medication.
Expanded outreach services through new post overdose response
This initiative will establish a new service response that reaches out to people who survive overdose, providing short term counselling support and connecting them to health and other support services in their location of choice. Assertive outreach positions will be based in six Victorian overdose hotspots, including Port Phillip, Yarra, Brimbank/Maribyrnong, Dandenong, Geelong and the City of Melbourne.
Expanded overdose prevention and education
This initiative will support a time-limited education campaign targeting some of the behaviours that increase the risk of fatal overdose among illicit drug users. This information will be made available to drug users at key locations such as needle and syringe outlets and other harm reduction and health services.
A co-design workshop was held on 21 March at Dialogue Conference Centre to design these initiatives, ensuring that models build on existing services while also looking at innovative solutions.
The department will provide additional detail as it becomes available, with the initiatives expected to roll out from April 2017.