Burnet to advise on ACT safe injecting facility

April 2020

Burnet Institute has been commissioned to investigate whether a medically-supervised safe injecting facility, which could include a drug testing service, should be established in Canberra.

Led by Professor Paul Dietze, Program Director Behaviours and Health Risks, the study will incorporate a needs analysis and detailed review of injecting room models in use in Australia and internationally.

It will investigate current and future drug usage patterns, risk behaviours and drug-related health problems to determine the need for such a facility in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT).

The institute will also advise the ACT government whether the safe injecting room should incorporate additional services, including on-site drug-testing.

Professor Dietze said Burnet has a strong track record of related work in the ACT focused on prisons and the territory’s original take-home naloxone program.

ACT Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith told the Canberra Times that a medically supervised injecting room was at the top of the government’s harm-minimisation plans.

Sydney and Melbourne have safe injecting facilities, though neither offers drug testing services. A report is due to be provided in August.

“In this instance, we are working in partnership with the Canberra Alliance for Harm Minimisation and Advocacy (CAHMA), and we’ll be using their expertise in trying to access potential consumers of a safe injecting facility,” Professor Dietze said.