Medically Supervised Injecting Room

Reducing public injecting, improving amenity and saving lives.

 

What is a medically supervised injecting room?

Saving Lives

What we provide

Linking to support services

How does it work?

Working with the community

Resources

 

What is a medically supervised injecting room?

 

Watch the tour video with transcript

A medically supervised injecting room is a 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.

Saving Lives:

Since the MSIR opened in June 2018, there have been:

  • Over 4,000 overdoses safely managed
  • Over 5,000 MSIR client registrations 
  • Over 200,000 injections supervised

Most overdoses are safely managed without the opiate overdose reversing medication naloxone, as staff can intervene much earlier than in the community.

NRCH and partner organisations are providing an increasing number of co-located health and social support services in the MSIR, including primary care, oral health, hepatitis testing and treatment, alcohol and other drug (AOD) treatment and legal services.

Since September 2019, the Launch Housing outpost worker collocated at the MSIR has provided over 1,400 homelessness services to people accessing the facility, including emergency accommodation services and housing application support.

More than 200 people accessing the MSIR facility (MSIR and non-MSIR clients) have commenced opioid agonist treatment (OAT) with an MSIR doctor, including over 175 clients commencing long-acting injectable buprenorphine. This is in addition to people who access OAT through NRCH’s GPs. 

The MSIR provides an opportunity for clinicians to collaborate and deliver critical health service access for people who inject drugs.  

NRCH and St Vincent’s recent collaborative pilot offering point-of-care hepatitis C testing and treatment to MSIR clients resulted in one to two hepatitis C treatment initiations a day. 

On Friday 5 June 2020, the independent Hamilton Review into the progress of the initial two-year trial of the MSIR was released.

NRCH welcomed the findings of the Hamilton Review Panel and supported the recommendation to extend the North Richmond MSIR trial for another three years.

We were inspired by the independent Panel’s conclusions that the MSIR has successfully saved lives and changed lives. These positive findings are a credit to the years of hard work by frontline workers at MSIR and local supporters of NRCH.

NRCH acknowledges that there is more work to be done to improve local amenity.

We welcome the opportunity to work with residents and stakeholders to establish neighbourhood improvement projects funded by a $9 million state government investment.

A new independent review panel has been formed and will deliver a final report on the trial by December 2022.

Changing Lives:

We gather stories and experiences from people who have used the medically supervised injecting room along with family members and support workers with experience supporting someone who uses drugs.

People who use drugs are largely stereotyped and stigmatised by society.  Stereotyping can often lead to prejudice, antipathy and discrimination. The stigma and discrimination associated with drug use can prevent people from seeking treatment, testing, and other important health services. By listening and sharing the stories and lived experiences of people who use drugs, we can reduce the stigma around drug use and break down the barriers to getting help and support.

Read stories from the MSIR here.

What we provide:

  • a place to inject drugs in a health setting
  • trained staff to manage an overdose
  • doctors, nurses and counsellors
  • links to other health and social support services.

Linking to support services:

The medically supervised injecting room can help improve people’s health and wellbeing, and social connectedness by linking people to support services that address:

  • substance issues
  • hepatitis C treatment
  • oral health
  • mental health
  • drug treatment and more.

Our services are:

  • free
  • confidential
  • respectful
  • for 18+.

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
  • 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 Victorian Government is trialling a medically supervised injecting room at the North Richmond Community Health site in North Richmond, Melbourne.

The service was established for an initial two-year trial period, which will be extended for a further three years, based on the evidence gathered in the initial period. Further details about the trial can be found at the medically supervised injecting room page on the Department of Health and Human Services website.

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 are 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 also provides support services in the same building from 7am to 9pm on weekdays and from 8am to 7pm on weekends.

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 the Victoria Police, Ambulance Victoria, local schools, the Victorian Government, the City of Yarra,  local residents and our clients.

We welcome your thoughts. If you would like to provide online feedback on the medically supervised injecting room please visit here. If you would like to speak to someone directly, contact: ourcentre@nrch.com.au or call 9418 9800.

Discarded needles:

If you find discarded injecting equipment around North Richmond Community Health during business hours, please contact our reception on 9418 9800. We will collect it.

If you find a syringe in a street or park or want someone to pick up a syringe from your property, you can request syringe management services online or by calling the council on 9205 5555. More information can be found here.

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.

We have printed MSIR information available. You can order free copies of our MSIR posters, business cards or brochures by emailing your order to msir@nrch.com.au.

 

Public tours:

For those who wish to learn more about the trial and how a medically supervised injecting room operates, the facility has opened for public tours and information sessions.

Please note tours of the medically supervised injecting room have been cancelled until further notice. NRCH is actively monitoring the COVID-19 situation and has taken proactive steps to lower the risk of transmission in our local community, whilst continuing to offer our vital services. See more here.

 

Media enquiries:

Email ourcentre@nrch.com.au.

 

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

Key information

How to access our services

NSP location

Location

North Richmond Community Health 23 Lennox St Richmond, VIC 3121

Please enter the new building via Lennox St (see map above).

You do not need an appointment.

Phone
(03) 9418 9811

Opening Hours:

Monday 7am – 9pm
Tuesday 7am – 9pm
Wednesday 7am – 9pm
Thursday 7am – 9pm
Friday 7am – 9pm
Saturday 8am – 7pm
Sunday 8am – 7pm
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