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Home > Review of the medically supervised injecting room.

Department of Health and Human Services. (2020) Review of the medically supervised injecting room. Melbourne: Department of Health and Human Services.

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Key findings and recommendations

After the first 18 months of the trial, the Panel found that NRCH successfully implemented a medically supervised injecting room noting that implementation remains a work in progress. The objectives of the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981 Part IIA were ambitious because, unlike other trials, the legislation underpinning this trial requires improvement in amenity as well as saving lives and reducing harms for people who inject drugs. The trial succeeded in most of the objectives:

▪ The MSIR had more than 119,000 visits in the first 18 months, making it one of the busiest in the world.

▪ There have been no overdose deaths in the MSIR, despite 271 extremely serious overdoses.

▪ While it is not possible to say with certainty how many people would have died without the MSIR, international approaches to modelling suggest at least 21–27 deaths have been avoided.

▪ There has been a reduction in ambulance attendances due to overdoses.

▪ There has been a reduction in reports of public injecting.

▪ Many MSIR service users have accessed other health and support services.

▪ The MSIR has provided screening, assessment and treatment initiation for blood-borne infections.

Some of the objectives had not been achieved by the end of 2019:

▪ Amenity had not improved.

▪ Local people reported no change in their experience of seeing discarded injecting equipment.

Given that North Richmond has long been a major site of heroin use and related harms in Victoria, and that the trial has successfully reduced harms for service users, the Panel call on the government to continue the trial of the Medically Supervised Injecting Room at North Richmond Community Health for a further three years.

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