Bourguet Philippe/BePress/ABACA via Reuters Connect
Australia: Push for expansion of safe injecting facilities
By Joylon Attwooll / newsGP
Researchers say ‘substantial evidence’ should encourage governments, in Australia and further afield, to facilitate more medically supervised sites.
A group of researchers and clinicians are pushing for more safe injecting sites to be set up, citing evidence from a long-running facility in Sydney.
The authors of an opinion piece published this week in the Medical Journal of Australia (MJA) say the supervised injecting site in Kings Cross founded 21 years ago is proof of the approach’s efficacy.
The writers, led by the University of Sydney’s Associate Professor Carolyn Day, who was previously a director of Addiction Medicine Education at the Sydney Medical School, highlight the scale of the work carried out at the Medically Supervised Injecting Centre (MSIC).
From the time it started until the end of April this year, MSIC had recorded a total of 1,232,951 injections at the facility without any fatalities, the researchers state.
They also write that almost 11,000 overdoses have been managed successfully, while 20,420 referrals to health and social services have been made.
The authors say that the MSIC enables a clear reduction in harm for those attending, with adverse events occurring in fewer than 1% of all injections.
‘Put simply, when a safer place to inject drugs is provided, the associated short-term harms are greatly reduced,’ the opinion piece reads.
‘The longer-term harms are also reduced with increased access to services, including drug treatment, hepatitis C care, and smoking cessation.’