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Year one of operations at MSIR

October 9 2019

Saving lives

From 30 June 2018 to 30 June 2019, there were:

  • 2,908 registered clients using the service
  • 61,823 visits including a supervised injection
  • 1,232 overdoses safely managed by staff inside the MSIR.

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

Providing a gateway to health and social services

Locating the MSIR at North Richmond Community Health connects people who inject drugs with the treatment and support they need. During a visit to the MSIR, clients can engage with staff in discussions about their health or concerns or access the consulting room clinic on offer that day.

North Richmond Community Health 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.

In the year of operation in the transitional facility, staff provided:

  • 5,082 on-site services to registered clients. This includes health promotion in relation to injecting, and on-the-spot health and social support.
  • 1,393 referrals to co-located services and clinics, and external services. This provides a gateway to supports including alcohol and other drug treatment, primary care, oral health, blood-borne virus treatment, mental health support, housing and homelessness services and legal support.

Transition to the larger facility

On 7 July 2019, MSIR operations moved from the transitional facility located inside the existing North Richmond Community Health building, to a larger facility on the same site.

Operations in the larger facility include:

  • opening hours have extended by three hours a day (7am to 9pm weekdays and 8am to 7pm weekends)
  • physical capacity has been expanded
  • better integration with the needle and syringe program (NSP), operating from the same entry zone
  • additional consulting and treatment rooms to support increased on-site access to gateway services.

North Richmond Community Health and the Department of Health and Human Services continues to work closely with gateway services, Victoria Police and Yarra City Council to address long-standing issues in the North Richmond area.

The transitional facility is being refurbished and returned to its previous function as community rooms. Activities managed elsewhere at North Richmond Community Health or locally will be able to return to this area later in 2019.

Progressing the trial

An independent review panel, chaired by Professor Margaret Hamilton AO, will evaluate the trial and report in 2020. The panel has been appointed by the Minister for Mental Health to deliver on the statutory requirement to review:

  • the operation and use of the MSIR
  • results during the trial against the stated objects
  • operation of the legislation and regulations.
Year one of the medically supervised injecting room

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