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May 23, 2016 11:39pm


Gary Christian, secretary for Drug Free Australia, claims the arrival of mobile injecting vans is a desperate measure that will not change the number of overdoses or overdose deaths in the area.
“Tracking of overdose deaths in the Kings Cross area from five years before the room opened compared with the nine years after the room was opened showed no change in the percentage of deaths in the area,” Mr Christian said.
Shane Varcoe, spokesman for the Victorian-based Dalgarno Institute, said any enterprise that enables, empowers or equips ongoing illicit drug use has already breached best healthcare practice.
“Harm reduction can never be about the support of ongoing, health diminishing substance use,” Mr Varcoe said.
“Caring, responsible and civic minded clinicians and policy makers will always be focused on movement toward exit from, and cessation of drug use.
“Mechanisms that enable any government agency to send a message to the community that we are not only supporting, but enabling taxpayer funded illicit drug use, not only breaches care for the illegal drug user, but breaches international conventions.”
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Dr. Colin Mangham says the research into the impact of Vancouver's safe injection site, InSite, is "weak."

Drug intervention experts and law enforcement officials who lived through the Vancouver safe injection site experience insist there was no decrease in either overdoses or drug-related crime.

Dr. Colin Mangham, a researcher and consultant in drug prevention for 37 years, told the Sun from B.C. last week he was “shocked at how weak” the research was into the effectiveness of InSite, the safe injection site set up in 2003 by Vancouver Coastal Health in the city’s Downtown East Side.

Mangham says the 30-35% reported decline in fatal overdoses among those using InSite was subject to “interpretation bias” — meaning the same people who created the program did the research on it.

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THE Victorian government is continuing to oppose safe injecting rooms despite the peak doctors' lobby group campaigning for change.

Australian Medical Association (AMA) Victoria president Stephen Parnis says it is time to trial safe injecting rooms in Melbourne because their use will save lives and minimise the social harm of illicit drug use.

But Community Services Minister Mary Wooldridge has restated the government's opposition to the proposal.

"The government does not support the establishment of injecting rooms," she said in a statement on Tuesday.

"Our harm reduction priorities are focused in other areas, including the significant expansion of pharmacotherapy services, with the doubling of the budget and expanding needle syringe programs in areas of particular need."

Dr Parnis said safe injecting rooms had the capacity to cut the number of deaths from drug overdoses, reduce ambulance call-outs and hospital admissions, lift patient outcomes and improve public order.

"Supervised injecting facilities have worked to reduce harm in Sydney's King's Cross and we're hopeful they can do the same in Melbourne's drug hotspots," he said. rights and content



Medically Supervised Injection Centres (MSICs) are legally-sanctioned facilities where users can consume pre-obtained drugs under medical supervision. Although there is a substantial body of research exploring their effectiveness, there have been few attempts to quantify outcomes across studies. In order to determine the impact of the body of research as a whole, outcomes from studies were synthesised using meta-analysis.


Literature sources were identified through searches in four bibliographic databases. Inclusion in the final review was dependent on the study meeting certain eligibility criteria, including a minimum of pre-test, post-test, control group designs. Data were extracted and pooled in a meta-analysis using both fixed and random effects methods.


Eight studies met the inclusion criteria. Overall, MSICs had a significant, but small, positive effect on outcomes based on the fixed effect analysis and no effect based on random effect analysis. The results of the independent outcome analyses showed that MSICs had a significant favourable result in relation to drug-related crime and a significant unfavourable result in relation to problematic heroin use or injection. MSICs were found to have no effect on overdose mortality or syringe/equipment sharing.


Whilst the effectiveness of the early versions of MSICs remains uncertain, this should not rule out continuing to test and develop MSICs in locations where public injecting and other drug-related harms are a major problem. It is important, however, that evaluation research publishes replicable data to enable future meta-analyses and to expand the body of knowledge in the field.

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