Injecting room reduces blood-borne viruses and saves lives
9 June 2020
An independent review of the Medically Supervised Injecting Room (MSIR) trial located in North Richmond has found it has saved lives and met many of its objectives, including reducing the spread of blood-borne viruses such as hepatitis C.
In the first 18 months, more than a third of people screened tested positive for hepatitis C, with a quarter starting treatment for this curable condition.
“These are people who commonly are not assisted by traditional health services. Were it not for this MSIR it is likely they would not have known about treatment, let alone been cured. This is why we supported the trial, why we celebrate its success, and why we support the decision for a further injecting room” said Hepatitis Victoria/LiverWELL CEO Melanie Eagle.
Since opening in North Richmond in mid-2018, the MSIR has seen more than 4,350 clients register to use the service. The facility has acted as an important gateway to essential services for its clients, with staff providing more than 13,000 on-site health and social support interventions and almost 2,000 referrals to other services, including for hepatitis C treatment.
“As a supporter of the trial since its commencement, we are very pleased that the review demonstrates how facilities such as these can help some of Melbourne’s most vulnerable people by providing access to a range of health and social services, including connecting them to treatment for a range of health issues like hepatitis C,” said Ms Eagle.
“Given its success, we join the many others in endorsing the Victorian Government’s plan, based on the review panel’s recommendation, to implement a second supervised injecting service in the City of Melbourne. We stand ready to work with those who will be establishing it to again ensure staff and clients are informed and ready to connect people to health services - thereby saving even more lives” she said.