The Victorian Government has accepted all recommendations of the independent review of Victoria’s first Medically Supervised Injecting Room (MSIR), which has found the trial is saving lives and changing lives for people struggling with drug addiction.
After 18 months of work, the final report from the independent review panel chaired by Professor Margaret Hamilton found the MSIR in North Richmond has safely managed 3,200 overdoses over 119,000 visits and saved at least 21 lives since opening.
The panel found the facility has taken pressure off emergency departments, reduced ambulance call outs to the area and lead to a decrease in reports of public injecting in the North Richmond area.
Staff have also provided more than 13,000 health and social support interventions for issues like mental health, housing and family violence – helping those suffering with addiction recover and rebuild their lives.
The Panel has recommended the MSIR trial be extended for three years.
The report also found North Richmond facility is the busiest supervised injecting room in Australia, with 4,350 clients registering since it opened.
To take pressure off the existing facility, and further reduce drug related harm in the community, the independent review panel has recommended a second MSIR site be established in the City of Melbourne, where there were 51 tragic heroin-related deaths between January 2015 and September 2019.
More than $9 million will be invested to improve the area around the North Richmond facility to undertake neighbourhood renewal including significant improvements to the nearby public housing estate, upgrades to landscaping and open green spaces, playgrounds and community rooms, and extra lighting. The funding will also mean $3 million to support projects identified in partnership with the local community, for the local community.