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Medically Supervised Injecting Room

Reducing public injecting, improving amenity and saving lives.

What we provide:

  • a place to inject drugs in a supervised health setting
  • support and care
  • nursing and overdose response
  • pathways to health and social services.

Our services are:

  • free
  • confidential
  • respectful.

What is a medically supervised injecting room?

A medically supervised injecting room  is a safe and hygienic place where people can inject drugs in a supervised health setting. This means that if someone overdoses in the room, a staff member can respond immediately.

It’s also a place to access other health services like mental health support, drug treatment, wound care and blood testing.

The medically supervised injecting room has opened as a two-year trial, which will be reviewed by an independent panel.

What are the benefits of a medically supervised injecting room?

Supervised injecting rooms around the world have:

  • reduced overdose deaths and overdose harm
  • reduced ambulance attendances and emergency department presentations related to overdose
  • reduced the number of discarded needles and syringes in nearby public places
  • improved public amenity for local residents and businesses
  • assisted in reducing the spread of blood-borne diseases including HIV and hepatitis C
  • provided a gateway to health and social services for people who inject drugs.

The trial

The medically supervised injecting room is opening as a two-year trial. The location of the trial is specified in the legislation, so no other medically supervised injecting rooms can be opened.

Over the next two years, an independent panel will review the medically supervised injecting room. After considering the evidence collected by the panel during the trial, a decision will be made on whether the service should continue at North Richmond Community Health.

How does it work?

Step 1: registration and a brief assessment

When a person enters the medically supervised injecting room, they are assessed by staff and registered as a client. Only those who are over the age of 18 can attend the service.

The registration process involves a brief assessment with a staff member, who discusses the client’s medical history with them. Each client is required to provide a name and a password to register for the service and access the medically supervised injecting room on subsequent visits.

On each visit, eligible clients provide their name or password, and other information including the drug they intend to inject. This assists staff in responding to an overdose in the medically supervised injecting room.

No drugs are supplied in the medically supervised injecting room.

Step 2: medically supervised injecting and overdose response

Once registration and assessment is complete, clients move into the injecting area. They wash their hands, are provided with sterile injecting equipment and given harm reduction advice before they inject their pre-obtained drugs in an allocated booth.

Once a client has injected they dispose of any needles and syringes safely, and wash their hands again. The injecting area is supervised by qualified health staff.

Clients are monitored closely for signs of overdose. Staff respond to all overdoses or related medical incidents, which may include the administration of oxygen or other medication.

Stage 3: aftercare and referral

After injecting, clients move to an aftercare space in the facility, where they stay until they feel ready to leave.

During this time, clients are able to talk further with qualified staff about their wider health and social support needs. They are supported to access other health services and support services, such as drug treatment and rehabilitation.

The Needle and Syringe Program will remain open for its standard hours.

Working with the community:

North Richmond Community Health is working with a range of people and organisations to improve the safety and wellbeing of our community. This includes Victoria Police, local schools, the Victorian Government, local residents and our clients.

We welcome your thoughts. If you would like to provide feedback on the medically supervised injecting room  please visit here. If you would like to speak to someone about the directly, contact:

ourcentre@nrch.com.au

9418 9800

Discarded needles:

If you find discarded injecting equipment around North Richmond Community Health during business hours, please contact our reception. We will collect it.

Anyone who sees a discarded syringe in the City of Yarra can call Yarra City Council’s syringe disposal hotline on 9417 5125 – just leave a message with the location of the syringe. It will be collected within 24 hours.

You can also contact cohealth’s Yarra syringe disposal team by email: yarrasyringe.disposal@cohealth.org.au.

For more information about who to contact in regard to community health, safety and wellbeing in North Richmond, please visit here.

Resources:

Frequently asked questions about the medically supervised injecting room.

 

The medically supervised injecting room is supported by the Victorian Government.

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