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More on the Injecting Room

May 8, 2011

A lot of interest in my report below, so let me share some more information about the success of the MSIC.

There have been approximately 600,000 visits over 10 years. There are about 200 injections a day – that is, with medical supervision on hand, whereas without the centre…?

To reinforce this point, the number of drug overdoses successfully managed stands at more then 3,500.

Now this is also important : there have been more than 8,500 referrals for addiction treatment, mental health, homelessness or acute medical problems. We always envisaged this as a portal to treatment.

There are 90 supervised injecting centers in the world but not all of them provide such a gateway to treatment.

By the way, there is no evidence of a “honey pot” effect, drawing addicts to Kings Cross.

All those injections – 200 a day – would have taken place in public places or, at least, without access to medical intervention. Kings Cross had the highest concentration of drug overdose deaths in the country.

Good policy or not?

  1. anon permalink
    May 8, 2011 10:23 am

    Good policy. Near my work at Liverpool I often see needles in the streets next to schools and train station; I would not be surprised if I heard there are more stray needles in the CBD of Liverpool than there are in Kings Cross.

  2. May 8, 2011 11:16 am

    “there have been more than 8,500 referrals for addiction treatment, mental health, homelessness or acute medical problems.”

    All well and good, and as it should be.

    However, what have the end results been? How many of these referrals have actually straightened junkies out and returned them to a more normal life? I know I’m being a bit pedantic here, but what’s the point in recycling them through an endless merry-go-round of taxpayer funded social services if they continue to shoot up decade after decade? The focus should be on the end result, not on the number of referrals. I know that public servants love to focus on the numbers (because it sounds great in reports) whilst ignoring the end game.

    This would all be a bit pointless if the 8500 referrals actually consisted of referring the same 10 people every day over a period of 7.7 years. (3 junkies x 365 days x 7.7 years = 8500), without one of them being off the gear at the end of that time.

  3. Sacha Blumen permalink
    May 8, 2011 12:39 pm

    Bob, the supposed honeypot effect has been much cited by opponents. They completely disregard the fact that there was dealing and using in KX before the centre opened. They’re completely blind to it!

    I was very happy to support the centre as the ALP candidate in the recent state election. I also understand that Clover, the Greens and local Lib candidates supported it. This indicates the local support for the centre.

  4. John Capito permalink
    May 8, 2011 10:04 pm

    Given that I was just starting High School when the Injecting Room was being talked about and implemented, I never had a clear idea as to what it was for. I was under the (now obviously naive) impression that it was somewhere for addicts to go to get drugs and have their fix, and I couldn’t believe that something like this was able to be built in Sydney.

    In more recent times, however, I had researched the Injecting Room and seen the rationale behind its construction. Coupled with these last two posts, Bob, it’s satisfying to see that some good has come this policy. It would be interesting to see how many of the addicts eventually kick the habit and move onto better things (ie: are successfully treated).

    Still, even if the Injecting Room is helping addicts survive their habit and keeping needles off the streets, it doesn’t change the fact that there are approximately 200 injections a day. That’s a lot of addicts and a lot of heroin. Treating the problem is one thing, treating the cause is another thing altogether.

  5. Robert Doherty permalink
    May 9, 2011 8:48 am

    Excellent policy. All addictions should be treated as medical problems and not as criminal matters.

  6. May 9, 2011 5:52 pm

    Good policy or not?

    I don’t know; how much did it cost? 🙂

    • Bob Carr permalink
      May 9, 2011 7:45 pm

      Would need to consult budget papers.

  7. Brendan Wynter permalink
    May 11, 2011 1:50 pm

    Good policy.

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