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Letter to The Age: We need a supervised injecting facility, now

August 1 2017 by Demos Krouskos, CEO of North Richmond Community Health

On Tuesday, 1 August 2017, The Age published a letter from North Richmond Community Health CEO Demos Krouskos, regarding the enormity of North Richmond’s overdose issue.

Read the letter in full below.

 

Heroin crisis

A supervised injecting facility is not just North Richmond’s problem (Mr Andrews, people are dying, July 29). People from all across Victoria are dying on North Richmond’s streets.

We see them every day in our Needle Syringe Program. As many as 260 come in a single day, from all over Melbourne, to receive sterile equipment, advice, care and support. For some, it may be easy to turn away from Richmond’s overdose deaths. For those of us that live and work here, it is not so easy. It is even more difficult for the many families, throughout Victoria, who have been impacted forever by overdose.

As the organisation at the heart of North Richmond, we see people impacted by heroin each day. We speak to them and appreciate their potential, which is often tragically lost. We respond to their overdoses (more than one a week, just on our premises), administering life-saving Naloxone. And unfortunately, time and time again, we see them die.

In my decades at North Richmond Community Health, I have never seen deaths on this scale. The evidence for a supervised injecting facility is clear, and we cannot afford to wait.

Demos Krouskos, CEO of North Richmond Community Health

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