In June 2018 Minister for Mental Health Martin Foley appointed me to chair a panel to review and provide a report on the trial of Victoria’s medically supervised injecting room (MSIR). Over the almost two years of this review there have been five panel members.
The establishment of the MSIR has been challenging for many: North Richmond Community Health (NRCH) (the licensee), local residents and businesses in the area, government officials responsible for implementing and overseeing the trial and other health and emergency services, and housing, legal and social support services in the area including the Yarra City Council. It has required police to adapt and attend to law enforcement in the context of a novel service.
This report describes the background of the government’s decision to respond to an increasing number of heroin overdose deaths in Victoria by trialling a medically supervised injecting facility. We are aware from media and Hansard records that, prior to the trial, supporters were hopeful that the facility would save lives and reduce harms associated with overdose. We also understand there were concerns raised, largely focusing on the location of the facility adjacent to a primary school, perceived risks of allowing injection of methamphetamine in the facility and the impact of the facility on existing NRCH service users.
Download the full report here (378 pg)