Yarra Drug & Health Forum Newsletter - June 2021 View online
Yarra Drug & Health Forum In-depth discussion into drug and alcohol issues in the City of Yarra
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Getting to solutions around drug issues not helped by shouty polarising media

There has been a lot of negative sensationalist mainstream media and misinformation about supervised injecting services in Melbourne, which doesn't support the local community to be informed and to work with others, including people who use drugs, to develop realistic and workable solutions. 


In this issue of the YDHF newsletter we highlight good sources of information and opinion to balance up the commentary on this issue, and draw your attention to the recent episode of ABC Program Media Watch on Channel 9 reporting on the issue, and recent articles on the issue published by AOD Media Watch, a group of researchers and clinicians who work in the field who aim to improve the reporting of AOD issues through, "putting the spotlight on stories that contain misinformation, and perpetuate unnecessary moral panic and stigma"


We provide links to our own media engagement with the issue recently and urge you to stay informed and participate in social media around the issue by following us and boosting balanced commentary, and connecting with the following commonly used AOD hashtags.

July Forum
The evidence about supervised injecting services shared with the community through YDHF

3 August 2020 - Professor Margaret Hamilton presents on the MSIR Review to the community

Professor Margaret Hamilton led an independent review panel to evaluate the trial of the MSIR in North Richmond 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 this 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.

Watch previous forums


October 2009The potential and viability of establishing a Supervised Injecting Facility (SIF) in Melbourne. Position Paper - A community based response to alcohol and other drug issues” Author: Burnet Institute. Commissioned by Yarra Drug & Health Forum 

Call to action
Towards balanced reporting on drug issues

Monday 24 May 2021 ABC Media Watch Ep 16 - Herald Sun says No


No room for positive stories amid the Herald Sun’s daily campaign against a proposed injecting room in Melbourne’s CBD.

Media Watch - Full Episode
AOD Media Watch

AOD Media Watch is run by a group of researchers and clinicians who work in the field. They aim to improve the reporting of AOD issues through putting the spotlight on stories that contain misinformation, perpetuate unnecessary moral panic and stigma.

Their mission is to improve media reporting on AOD-related issues by engaging with the media by critical analysis of articles published across Australia. They offer feedback to journalists by celebrating great journalism and highlighting poor reporting.

Two recent pieces concerning reporting around the supervised injecting services include:

The Bulletin Penington Institute


Part two of Q&A with Dr Ingrid van Beek, the founding Medical Director of Australia’s first Medically Supervised Injecting Centre reflects on lessons learned during the facility’s early years and shares her thoughts on future directions for NSPs.

Keep up to date with all happenings in the AOD sector through VAADA's e-news.

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Ten years ago, Portugal decriminalised the use of all drugs, from marijuana to heroin, but has it worked?

SBS Dateline screened May 2021

Watch at SBS On Demand
Why is the Herald Sun obsessed with Medically Supervised Injection? (AOD Media Watch)
June 2, 2021
Police are again trying to justify the huge amount of resource allocation to drug enforcement by blaming all of society’s problems on people who use drugs.
Why a new CBD drug room would ‘take people off the streets’ (3AW)
May 19, 2021
Forum chairperson Peter Wearne spoke with 3AW’s Tom Elliott about the future for medically supervised injecting centres in Melbourne. Listen to the full discussion at their website.
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