MEDIA RELEASE: Uniting applaud announcement of Australia’s second Medically Supervised Injecting Centre

Woman hands syringe to someone October 31, 2017

The organisation that opened Australia’s first Medically Supervised Injecting Centre (MSIC), today welcomed the Victorian government announcement that a centre will be established in Melbourne.

Paul Linossier, CEO of Uniting VIC.TAS and Peter Worland, Executive Director of Uniting NSW.ACT joined forces to applaud the decision.

“This is a wonderful outcome for all of the community groups, health, welfare, research and legal leaders who have advocated to bring this lifesaving service to Melbourne,” said Paul Linossier, “including the Uniting Church in Victoria and Tasmania, which recently announced its support for a pilot facility in Melbourne.

“Like its Sydney equivalent, this centre will save lives. It will support some of the most vulnerable and marginalised people in our community, improve public health, and reduce risks to individuals and the wider community.”

Uniting NSW.ACT has run an MSIC in Sydney since 2001 and has supervised over a million injections, and treated 7,428 overdoses without a single death. Benefits to the local community have included ambulance callouts being cut by 80 per cent and a dramatic reduction in public drug use.

Peter Worland, Executive Director for Uniting in NSW.ACT said: “We are proud that Uniting took the bold move of opening the Southern Hemisphere’s first Medically Supervised Injecting Centre 16 years ago. There was resistance initially, but independent evaluation continues to show overwhelmingly positive outcomes, for individuals and the community.

“The announcement that another MSIC will open in Melbourne is a powerful example of politicians putting people first, and we congratulate the Victorian government for doing so.”

Dr Marianne Jauncey, Medical Director of Uniting’s Sydney-based MSIC said the service currently averages around 160 visits each day and attributed its achievements to a client-centric approach, saying:

“As with every Uniting service, our staff at the Sydney MSIC are dedicated to helping every single person who walks through the door.

“Like all doctors I know the value of professional medical treatment and I’m so proud that, as well as saving lives, we’ve made over 13,000 referrals into treatment and support services.

“We look forward to supporting the Melbourne MSIC in any capacity required, as they go about providing a practical and compassionate response to those in their community who struggle with drug addiction.”

Since the opening of Uniting’s Sydney-based MSIC, on 6 May 2001:

  • 1,048,340 visits have been made to the service
  • Public drug use and the public discarding of needles has been cut dramatically;
  • Drug-related ambulance callout rates have reduced by over 80%;
  • 7,428 overdoses have been successfully treated on the site, without a single death;
  • 13,000 referrals have been made to clients into treatment, health and social welfare services.

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