Thursday, July 25, 2024
HomeOpinionEditorialIn support of harm minimisation

In support of harm minimisation

The Uniting Medically Supervised Injecting Centre (MSIC) in Kings Cross allows for a relatively safe environment for people to inject drugs, access emergency care and obtain sterile injecting equipment.

Since the MSIC opened in 2001, there have been more than 1 million injections supervised and more than 8,500 overdoses managed without a single fatality.

More than 14,500 referrals have been made, connecting clients to health, drug treatment and social welfare services. Among frequently attending clients, 80 per cent have ultimately accepted a referral for treatment.

According to reports cited by the Alcohol and Drug Foundation, clients report an increase in knowledge of the risk of spread of blood-borne viruses and describe behavioural changes that reflect safer injecting practices to minimise risk.

The number of publicly discarded needles and syringes approximately halved after the centre opened. The number of ambulance call-outs to Kings Cross dropped by approximately 80 per cent, and the average monthly emergency department presentations that were opioid-related fell by 20 per cent post-MSIC.

The SSH is alarmed to hear of renewed opposition to a program deserving of respect and ongoing support.

Sydney’s remaining lockout laws will be axed this month and restrictions on Kings Cross lifted to allow venues to open beyond 1.30am. Multiple Kings Cross businesses, including the Potts Point Hotel, have called for the removal of the MSIC.

In light of NSW government plans to attract more people to small bars and restaurants, the Kings Cross Liquor Accord claims the MSIC has a negative impact on the area.

MSIC’s medical director, Marianne Jauncey, points out the service has been operating successfully in Kings Cross for almost 20 years and its clients are part of the “heart and soul” of the area.

A spokesperson for St Vincent’s Hospital says the injecting centre has prevented many overdoses and the hospital has heard no convincing argument or evidence for it to be moved.

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