News & Media Releases

Council renews calls for supervised injecting facility

20 May 2013

Yarra Mayor, Cr Jackie Fristacky, has renewed calls for a supervised injecting facility (SIF) to be trialled in Yarra as a long term strategy for addressing public injecting.

This follows the release of a new report by the Burnet Institute for Medical Research which reveals the number of disposed syringes collected in the City of Yarra climbed from 2823 in 2010 to 8092 in 2012.

Cr Fristacky said the research showed contractors were collecting more syringes from dedicated disposal bins and less off the streets. Although complaints about public drug use had decreased in the past two years, Yarra continued to record the highest number of heroin-related attendances by Ambulance Victoria of any local government in Melbourne.

“Ambulance services respond to over 200 heroin overdoses in Yarra each year and many of these occur in public places,” she said.

“Not only is the drug user at significant risk, but resident and trader witnesses are also impacted, not to mention the strain on resources that overdoses place on hospital, and other health services, and welfare and justice agencies.

“For well over a decade, this Council has sought a trial SIF, based on the proven successful outcomes of the Kings Cross SIF in Sydney.

“The latest figures on overdoses and syringe collections speak for themselves; the case for a trial SIF in Yarra remains as compelling as ever.”

Cr Fristacky urged all levels of government and community to work together on public policies to reduce health risks.

The Mayor will write to the Premier and relevant Ministers to draw their attention to these latest research findings and reiterate Council’s position on a trial SIF in Yarra.

“We know that one initiative such as a trial SIF - will not solve the illegal drug problem,” Cr Fristacky said.

“Council supports a multi-faceted approach to managing illegal drugs, and recognises that there is both a health and police response required.”

The Burnet Institute’s report “North Richmond Public Injecting Impact Study” was commissioned by the Yarra Drug and Health Forum with support from Yarra Council and the North Richmond Community Health Service

It follows a Council resolution in 2011, which advocated for a SIF to be trialled in Yarra as part of a long term strategy for addressing the adverse impacts of public injecting.

For further reading about how Council responds to illegal drug use and its position on supervised injecting facilities, click here.

Further information
Susan Gulko
Community Safety Officer
9205 5156



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