07 March 2023, 13:21
Victorian Legislative Council, Melbourne

David ETTERSHANK (Western Metropolitan):

Only a few short weeks ago I was pleased to tour North Richmond’s medically supervised injecting centre and overdose prevention centre for the first time. It is a centre I have supported in principle for a long time, but it is not until you see the service in action that you appreciate its true worth.

It is saving lives and reducing demand on ambulances and first responders. But it is doing so much more. To learn about their wraparound services and successes in transitioning patients of the centre from heroin to long-term alternatives, for example, their remarkable success rate in treating hepatitis C because of their ability to complete diagnostic pathology on site immediately and then treat on the same day and their huge successes with dental silver fluoride to topically treat dental cavities where surgical treatment would otherwise be near impossible to facilitate for their clientele – it was just so very impressive.

So I am very pleased that, having saved 63 lives and successfully managed over 6000 overdoses, the centre will now become an ongoing service.

I commend the government for committing to the ongoing operation of the service. It is abundantly clear to me that Victorian lives will be saved by having more centres of this type. Subject to appropriate consultation, overdose prevention centres should be opened when and where they are needed.


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