May 6, 2021
The Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) is urging all state and territory governments to mark the 20th anniversary of the opening of the first Australian medically supervised injecting centre (MSIC) in Kings Cross by identifying new sites to be integrated within the health system.
President of the Australasian Chapter of Addiction Medicine, Professor Nicholas Lintzeris, congratulates the MSIC in Kings Cross on its 20th anniversary of saving lives and said:
“Over the last two decades, injecting centres have contributed to a reduction in overdoses and risky injecting practices, more appropriate support and treatment service referrals, and improved community outcomes by reducing instances of public injecting and the presence of drug paraphernalia.
“Australia has pioneered a best practise model for injecting centres where the service is as closely linked to referral services as possible. Our success in Australia with MSIC has been replicated in over 100 centres worldwide, but sadly we still only have two.
A recent review of latest MSIC to be opened in North Richmond, Victoria, has shown outstanding results achieved in its first year. So far, it has seen reduced overdose-related ambulance attendances, and an uptake in further health and support services1.
“The improvements shown by the North Richmond centre come after only one year of operation. What we need now is to replicate this model in more communities who could benefit from the successes seen in Kings Cross and North Richmond.
“We would also need to see that centres are run within the health system. This is to ensure that the appropriate support and care is provided to mitigate risk or injury.”
The RACP states that future MSICs should be determined by evidenced based review, much like the North Richmond centre. The review would be guided by international data, parliamentary inquiry recommendations, and stakeholder support from coroners, medical experts, first-responder agencies and members of the community.
“The success over two decades is apparent. Supporting the establishment of new medically supervised injecting centres will extend a caring, non-judgemental hand to vulnerable individuals who may struggle to access appropriate health services for decades more.”
1 Review of the Medically Supervised Injecting Room, Victorian Department of Health and Human Services, June 2020