Looking out for the health of people who inject drugs is a complex task for health services in the context of criminalised and stigmatized drug use.
Such was the health crisis in North Richmond over several years with heroin overdose events and deaths being the subject of Coroners Court recommendations for the establishment of supervised injecting facilities as a preventative measure.
Many years of advocacy followed in the City of Yarra to see such a facility established.
Culminating in 2017 with the establishment of the first supervised injecting facility in Victoria as a two year trial. Professor Margaret Hamilton led an independent review panel to evaluate the trial and make recommendations to the State Government. In June 2020 the Victorian State Government announced the extension of the Medically Supervised Injecting Room for a further 3 years and the establishment of a second facility in the City of Melbourne.
In a webinar co-sponsored by VAADA and YDHF on 3 August Professor Hamilton presented on the Review Panel, the process of the Review, findings and recommendations and answered many questions from an audience of 170 people, with context of the lead up to the MSIR, and the process of community consultation and engagement that took place, provided by Sally Mitchell for YDHF and Sam Biondo for VAADA.