Shooting-up rooms work, face opposition


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Bit like the proposed method of dealing with feral cats:

Townsend credits Melbourne’s medically supervised injecting room, which opened as a trial facility in June 2018, with turning her life around. “Had I not been able to access the support there, I’d either be dead or still in the throes of my addiction,” she says.

Townsend used both the injecting room in North Richmond and programs its community health centre offers, including housing support and oral and mental health services. The facility’s non-judgmental staff motivated her to recover, she says.

“I’m living proof that the whole injecting room set-up, with all the wraparound services, do work to help people on their recovery and aren’t just there to make drug use an easy thing.”

Established benefits, fierce opposition
The benefits of supervised injecting facilities are well established by numerous reports and peer-reviewed research studies, which have found that injecting rooms save people’s lives, take public injecting off the streets, alleviate the burden on frontline health workers, reduce needle litter and provide an avenue for support services. In more than 120 injecting facilities operating around the world, to date there has not been a single overdose death.

But injecting rooms face fierce opposition from certain quarters, often driven by fears of a so-called “honeypot effect”, in which a facility purportedly attracts drug users to an area who would not otherwise be there. An independent review last year into the North Richmond facility’s first 18 months found no evidence of such an effect.