For immediate release (Tuesday October 31, 2017)
The Health and Community Services Union (HACSU) welcomes the Victorian Government’s announcement to undertake a trial of a Medically Supervised Injecting Centre (MSIC) at the North Richmond Community Health Centre.
HACSU represents the industrial and professional interests of nearly 3,000 members working on the frontline of Victorian mental health, alcohol and other drug services.
HACSU members have consistently supported a harm minimization approach and policies that, on an evidence basis, reduce harm and suffering.
HACSU State Secretary, Lloyd Williams, said there was already a large body of evidence within Australia and overseas supporting MSICs.
“It is very important not to enter these debates with emotive arguments. It has to be about what the evidence says is effective,” Lloyd Williams said.
“All the evidence points to MSIC’s saving lives. In the Kings Cross area in Sydney, for example, drug-injecting usage has actually declined on a per capita basis since the introduction of a MSIC in 2001.”
“Further, in more than 90 centres around the world not a single user has died from a drug overdose whilst using their services due to the countless thousands of interventions from the trained health professionals at these centres.”
“MSICs offer an unparalleled opportunity to refer hard-to-reach patient cohorts to treatment services, and there is no evidence at all MSICs nornalise drug-injecting behaviors.”
“HACSU represents thousands of health professionals who are confronted by these issues everyday and their first-hand knowledge sends us a clear message. They support MSICs because they are effective in saving lives and reducing harm.”
Significantly, a recent survey of mental health and alcohol and drug workers showed 85% of survey respondents supported the trial of a MSIC, and, out of 11 policy priority areas, members, on average, ranked “improving access to drug and alcohol treatment services” as their number 1 priority.
For more information, ring Lloyd Williams, HACSU State Secretary, 0418542799