As you may have heard, the NSW Government has FINALLY decided to make the medically supervised injecting centre at Kings Cross a permanent fixture. About time, too.
Here is a statement issued today by the Public Health Association of Australia:
“The PHAA has welcomed the NSW Government’s decision to make the medically supervised injecting centre at Kings Cross a permanent fixture. The centre’s trial status is set to be lifted after almost 10 years of life-saving work and proven community benefits.
“The establishment of the centre by former Premier Bob Carr back in 2001 following the NSW Drug Summit was a ground-breaking and forward-thinking public health policy decision. In the years that have followed more than 3,500 overdoses have been managed at the centre without a single fatality – a wonderful outcome for both those individuals and their families who may otherwise have lost their loved ones. The Centre has also referred thousands of people to drug treatment and contributed to a reduction in drug-related problems for the Kings Cross community,” said Michael Moore, PHAA Chief Executive Officer.
“The Kings Cross medically supervised injecting centre caters for around 200 injections a day by intravenous drug users – these would otherwise take place on the streets – placing users at risk of overdose and creating obvious problems for the community and businesses in the area. Assessments of the centre’s operation have consistently demonstrated that despite some initial reservations, the Kings Cross community has seen demonstrable benefits from the establishment of the centre in terms of amenity and public order, which are over and above the health benefits experienced by users.
“PHAA supports the harm reduction approach to policy in relation to reducing the harms from illicit drug use. Harm reduction measures, such as the establishment of the medically supervised injecting centre, coupled with complementary demand reduction and supply reduction measures, make up a comprehensive approach to addressing drug-related problems in the Australian community.
“Ultimately, if people are to overcome drug problems, it is vital that they are kept alive long enough to do so. It is impossible to rehabilitate someone who has already died from a drug overdose, and the Kings Cross medically supervised injecting centre has saved the lives of many sons, daughters, brothers, sisters and parents who would otherwise not be with us today,” said Mr Moore.
Update 30 Sept
Dr Marianne Jauncey, the Centre’s medical director, has supplied links to two recent evaluations of its work.
She also supplied this rather impressive list of all the organisations supporting the centre:
Alcohol and other Drugs Council of Australia (ADCA)
Ambulance Service of New South Wales
Australasian Chapter of Addiction Medicine (AChAM)
Australasian College for Emergency Medicine (ACEM)
Australasian Faculty of Public Health Medicine (AFPHM)
Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and other Drugs (APSAD)
Australasian Society of HIV Medicine (ASHM)
Australian Drug Foundation (ADF)
Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations (AFAO)
Australian Medical Association NSW
Australian Parliamentary Group for Drug Law Reform
Baptist Inner City Ministries
City of Sydney Council
Come In Youth Resource Centre
Director of Public Prosecutions (NSW) Nicholas Cowdery AM QC
Drug and Alcohol Nurses Australasia (DANA)
Family Drug Support
General Practice NSW
Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria
Inner City Legal Centre
Inner City Youth at Risk Project
International AIDS Society
International Harm Reduction Association
Metropolitan Community Church
New South Wales Bar Association, Criminal Law Committee Chair
N.S.W. Nurses’ Association
National Centre for Education on Training and Addiction (NCETA)
National Centre in HIV Epidemiology & Clinical Research (NCHECR)
National Centre in HIV Social Research (NCHSR)
National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC)
National Drug Research Institute (NDRI)
Network of Alcohol and Other Drug Agencies (NADA)
New South Wales Police Force
NSW Users’ and AIDS Association (NUAA)
Positive Life NSW
Public Health Association Australia – (NSW branch)
Royal Australasian College of Physicians
Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists
Royal Australian College of General Practitioners
Sydney School of Public Health, University of Sydney
Sisters of Charity Health Services
Social Workers in AIDS (SWAIDS)
St Canice’s Church, Kings Cross
St John’s Anglican Church, Darlinghurst
St Vincent’s Hospital Alcohol and Drug Services
Ted Noffs Foundation
Young Lawyers NSW