A Melbourne CBD supervised injecting service will save lives and transform lives

We stand in support of the trial of a supervised injecting service in the City of Melbourne.

The proposal for a supervised injecting service in the CBD will save lives, give highly vulnerable people access to treatment support and healthcare, and reduce public injecting and needle litter in our city.

But this is not just our opinion.

Studies of more than 120 injecting services around the world, some of which have been operating for decades, show they are one of the most effective tools in combating the serious harm caused by drug dependence in our community.

Every day, people are risking death by injecting drugs on Melbourne’s streets; in car parks, laneways and public toilets. Approximately one person a month dies after using heroin in the City of Melbourne.

These deaths are unnecessary. These are sons, daughters, brothers and sisters. All loved and mourned by families and friends.

Our response as a community to this health issue should be a health solution, underpinned by care, support and compassion.

A small, discreet supervised injecting service, embedded within a broader range of community health services such as mental health, housing, sexual health, oral health and allied health, is the best way to connect people with the help they need, when they need it.

A health response will deliver benefits to everyone, reducing the impact of drug use on the whole CBD community, as well as the people who use the service.

Those who are drug dependent have some of the highest health and social support needs, yet tragically have the lowest rates of access due to shame, stigma and other barriers.

We need to look beyond the emotion, judgement and fear, and assess the hard evidence.

As leading organisations and experts in drug dependence, health and medicine, homelessness, justice and youth services, we are speaking out in support of the trial of a supervised injecting service in the CBD.

Because we know, and the evidence shows, these services save lives, connect people to pathways out of drug dependence, and reduce the impact of public drug use.

If you are interested in becoming a signatory, please contact Dave Taylor at dtaylor@vaada.org.au