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theage.com.au, October 01, 2012

AMA gets behind safe injecting rooms

The Australian Medical Association has called for the trial of a supervised injecting facility in Victoria to prevent overdoses and help control the spread of blood-borne diseases including hepatitis C.
 
The government has repeatedly ruled out making the necessary legislative change for a safe-injecting facility, and did so again last night.
 
The Labor party also said it did not support the establishment of a supervised injecting facility, but the Greens said it should be considered.
 
AMA Victoria president Stephen Parnis said such facilities had worked to reduce harm in other areas including Sydney's Kings Cross "and we're hopeful they can do the same in Melbourne's drug hotspots".
 
Dr Parnis did not nominate a particular location for a proposed trial but noted that heroin-related ambulance attendances were particularly high in the City of Yarra.
 
In Victoria, there were 2033 heroin related ambulance attendances in 2009-10, and more than than one in five were in the City of Yarra.
 
Last year Premier Ted Baillieu ruled out the necessary legislative change for a safe-injecting trial after Yarra Council voted 6-1 to support an injecting room in its municipality — a known hot spot for heroin use.
 
"We haven't supported injecting rooms, we won't support injecting rooms, and I don't support the normalisation of any of this sort of behaviour," Mr Baillieu said at the time.
 
Victorian Greens MP Colleen Hartland said the Greens had long supported safe injecting rooms based on the success of the Kings Cross facility over the last decade.
 
"It's something that should be looked at," she said last night, adding that the Baillieu Government was unlikely to rethink its stance.
 
"I don't think this government wants to look at anything that diverts from their lock em up and throw away the key mentality," she said.


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