Last week more than a hundred people gathered for a meeting in North Richmond at a pub across from the medically supervised injecting room.
A mix of media, politicians, local residents and people working in the alcohol and drug sector attended. It was a spirited discussion about the issues associated with drug use and antisocial behaviour negatively affecting local residents.
North Richmond has been a hot spot for drug use for two decades. The City of Yarra had the highest frequency of heroin-related deaths in Victoria between 2009 and 2016 – one of the reasons North Richmond was chosen as the location for Victoria’s only injecting room.
The injecting room opened on June 30 last year for the start of a two-year trial. The expectation for some was that it would solve the drug problems in the area and an inability to achieve this might be perceived as a failure of the injecting room itself. The issue is more complex.