Evidence shows how supervised injecting facilities can address health and social challenges associated with drug dependence, benefiting both individuals and communities at large.
Injection drug use is a chronic relapsing behaviour associated with substantial health and social harms, such as overdose, infectious disease, and imprisonment.
Supervised Injecting Facilities (SIFs; also referred to as overdose prevention sites or drug consumption rooms) are designed to reduce drug-related harms. In these facilities individuals can inject drugs under the supervision of trained healthcare professionals.
The primary aim of SIFs is to reduce the harms associated with injecting drug use by providing an emergency response to overdose and connecting clients to primary care and social services. In 2022, sanctioned drug consumption rooms were legal and operating within 16 countries, globally.
In Australia, the Sydney Medically Supervised Injecting Centre (MSIC) was established in 2001, the first in the English-speaking world — 17 years later in 2018, the Melbourne Medically Supervised Injecting Room (MSIR) was established in North Richmond.
The Melbourne MSIR was initially established on a trial status, operating in a temporary facility with low capacity until a purpose-built facility opened in 2019. Following two service reviews over a five-year trial period, the North Richmond MSIR has recently been made an ongoing service and recommendations have been made to open another SIF in the Central Business District (CBD).
The international and national evidence presented in this evidence brief is aligned with the primary objectives of SIFs in reducing overdose and drug-related harms, including reducing the spread of blood borne viruses, and improving health outcomes for clients and public amenity. It concludes that SIFs meet these aims in reducing drug related harms and demonstrates a clear need for a new facility in Melbourne's CBD.
The full text of this bulletin is available online here.
It concludes that SIFs meet these aims in reducing drug related harms and demonstrates a clear need for a new facility in Melbourne's CBD.