Uniting supports decision to make Medically Supervised Injecting Room permanent.


March 15, 2023

Uniting Vic.Tas welcomes the State Government’s commitment to make the North Richmond Medically Supervised Injecting Room (MSIR) a permanent fixture of Victoria’s response to reducing drug-related harm.  

The recently released final report into the Review of the Medically Supervised Injecting Room has found that since its establishment in 2018, the MSIR has succeeded in achieving the trial’s key objective: saving lives. Data from the independent review shows there have been almost 6,000 overdose events in the MSIR during the trial period and none have been fatal.  

Modelling cited in the review suggests that during its time in operation, the North Richmond MSIR has prevented up to 63 deaths, which equates to around 16 lives per year.  

CEO Bronwyn Pike said the organisation supported a harm minimisation approach to drug use.

“Overdose deaths are preventable – every person lost to an overdose is a tragedy,” Ms Pike said. 

“While we congratulate the Victorian Government on its ongoing commitment to the North Richmond MSIR, we still have work to do.” 

Recent data shows heroin-related incidents in the Melbourne CBD increased in 2021-22, surpassing the City of Yarra for the first time.  

“We are devastated by the number of lives that continue to be lost from drug overdoses in Melbourne and across our state,” Ms Pike said.  

“Many of the people we work with every day in our alcohol and other drug programs at Uniting Vic.Tas face complex life circumstances with multiple health and social needs. We need a range of health-based responses to support people and medically supervised injecting rooms are an intervention that save lives.”  

This week Uniting joined our sector colleagues in writing a joint letter to the Victorian Government to support a trial of a supervised injecting service in the City of Melbourne.   

If you or someone you know is experiencing alcohol or drug related harm, Directline offers a statewide 24/7 telephone counselling and referral service on 1800 888 236.  

Learn more about our Alchohol & Other Drug Services.

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