The Uniting Church in Victoria and Tasmania and its community services organisation, Uniting Vic.Tas, today expressed disappointment at the announcement by Victorian Liberal Leader Matthew Guy that he will close the North Richmond Medically Supervised Injecting Room if the Coalition win this weekend’s State election.
Uniting Vic.Tas CEO Paul Linossier said: “These centres save lives. They support some of the most vulnerable and marginalised people in our community, improve public health, and reduce risks to individuals and the wider community.”
The Medically Supervised Injecting Centre in Sydney, run by Uniting NSW.ACT and the first of its kind in Australia, has supervised more than a million injections and treated thousands of overdoses without a single death since opening in 2001. Since the North Richmond facility opened in July it has treated 320 people for overdoses that would have been life-threatening outside the medically supervised environment. Uniting supports the Medically Supervised Injecting Room by providing dedicated overdose prevention staff.
Moderator of the Uniting Church in Victoria and Tasmania, Rev Sharon Hollis said: “Around the world, safe injecting rooms are effective in preventing overdose deaths and engaging vulnerable community members in drug treatment and support services.
“We believe that the problem of drug use needs allied health and welfare supports. By providing decent, clean, comfortable facilities, we are signalling that these people are worthy of respect, as well as minimising the effect on the local community.”
Read more about the Uniting NSW.ACT MSIC in Sydney.