The Greens candidate for the federal seat of Wentworth, Matthew Robertson, has called on the NSW Government and Opposition to end the trial period for the Kings Cross Medically Supervised Injecting Centre (MSIC) and make it permanent.
The Centre has operated on a trial basis since it opened a decade ago, despite success in reducing deaths and infection rates among injecting drug users in the area and similar supervised injecting rooms being established in other countries.
“The Medically Supervised Injecting Centre shows the merits of taking a harm-minimisation approach to drug use,” Robertson said.
“The facilities and services it offers have literally saved and improved the lives of hundreds of drug users.”
The centre is tasked with reducing harm associated with illicit drug use by supervising injecting episodes that might otherwise occur in public or in solitary situations where medical aid in the event of an overdose might not be sought. The centre also refers intravenous drug users to drug and other counselling services.
Robertson said the Kings Cross community has benefited from the MSIC.
“By taking illicit drug use off the streets of the Cross, the MSIC has been of immense benefit to the local community by reducing the interaction between drug users and the public in the back lanes,” he said.
“That’s a win for everyone — it’s cleaner, tidier and safer for the users and the community.
“With the NSW Government seemingly set to approve permanency for the centre, I call on Opposition leader Barry O’Farrell to set aside prejudice and to add his support for the centre becoming permanent.”
Robertson said similar centres could alleviate problems associated with injecting drug use at other drug hot spots around the country.
“It’s about time that more such centres were opened in other parts of NSW and Australia,” he said.