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Yarra Mayor welcomes parliamentary inquiry into a supervised injecting facility
24 February 2017
Yarra Mayor Cr Amanda Stone has welcomed a parliamentary inquiry into a supervised injecting facility in North Richmond.
State Parliament this week voted in favour of the inquiry, following the Victorian Coroner’s recommendation to trial a supervised injecting facility (SIF) after the death of a woman from a heroin overdose in North Richmond in 2016, and 34 other heroin-related deaths in the area in the last 12 months.
Yarra Mayor Cr Amanda Stone said the inquiry is a significant step towards helping to save lives in North Richmond.
“Evidence from Australia and overseas shows that SIFs are not only effective in saving lives, but also in helping to connect people with vital health services so they may have the opportunity for rehabilitation,” she said.
“They also reduce the number of needles and drug paraphernalia discarded in our streets and the likelihood of the public witnessing drug injecting and overdoses.”
Yarra Council has long supported a harm minimisation approach to addressing drug issues in North Richmond, including a trial of a supervised injecting facility.
In 2011 and 2013, Council declared its support for SIFs, and recommended a SIF trial to the Coroner as part of her recent investigation.
“This is not a new issue. Council and our community have long grappled with the complexities of drug use in North Richmond, particularly in Victoria Street, and has given careful consideration to the most effective way to address the devastating impact on individuals and the wider community,” Cr Stone said.
“Council supports a SIF as part of a wider solution to the complex issues in North Richmond,” she said.
“It should be part of a broad and multi-faceted approach that incorporates a range of other harm minimisation measures, health and education, urban renewal, community partnerships and law enforcement.
“This will require ongoing commitment and collaboration from all levels of government, health and community services, and the police, as well as continued investment by the State Government.
“Learning from the personal experiences of people in our community is also vital in understanding and developing solutions. That is why Council is currently running the Reimagining Victoria Street project, which seeks to have an honest conversation with our community and other stakeholders about the challenges and potential solutions for Victoria Street.
“I am hopeful these conversations, together with the breadth of other work happening in our community and the upcoming parliamentary enquiry into SIFs will be a vital step forward in implementing meaningful solutions and most importantly, saving lives.”
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