En Melbourne está teniendo lugar un animado debate sobre la necesidad de abrir salas de consumo de drogas con el fin de reducir el uso ilícito de estasMás información, en inglés, está disponible abajo.

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By Alex Wodak, Emeritus Consultant, St Vincent's Hospital, Darlinghurst

As senior law enforcement officials line up to say Australia cannot arrest its way out of our illicit drug problems, some politicians have expressed opposing viewsabout drug consumption rooms. This debate is now raging in Melbourne.

Drug consumption rooms enable people to use drugs under the supervision of trained staff. Generally established close to large drug markets, they have been shown to reduce the spread of HIV and hepatitis C, reduce deaths and injuries due to drug overdose, reduce ambulance call-outs, increase referral to health and social services including detoxification and drug addiction treatment and reduce public drug injecting and numbers of discarded needles.

The annual cost of Sydney’s Medically Supervised Injecting Centre is about A$3 million, roughly equivalent to the annual cost of imprisoning about 30 people. While the benefits of incarceration can be difficult to identify, the Medically Supervised Injecting Centre produces larger financial savings than it costs to run.

Another benefit of drug consumption rooms is providing authorities with rapid feedback about the drugs currently used in the street.

Drug consumption rooms are remarkably effective at attracting isolated people with almost no contact with any health or social service. Many have off-the-scale mental and physical health problems.

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