An injecting room worked for heroin: Let's have one to help beat ice
In the 14 years since the Sydney’s Kings Cross injecting room opened, there has not been a single overdose death on the premises. A similar policy could be applied to reduce harms of the methamphetamine market, which is - according the Australian Crime Commission - "the highest risk to the Australian community".31 Mar 2015
Twenty years ago heroin was the great crisis in Australia. Levels of use were at historic highs. Both the federal Howard government and the New South Wales Carr government embraced harm minimisation approaches to drugs policy, which led to the establishment of a medically supervised injecting centre in Sydney’s Kings Cross. In the 14 years since the centre opened, there has not been a single overdose death on the premises. A recent report by KPMG has found that 78% of local residents and 70% of local businesses are supportive.
Now that crystal meth (ice) use is on the increase, Australia needs a national strategy and an investment in treatment services to try to reduce the level of use as much as possible.
An article in the Guardian suggest that perhaps it’s time to establish a safe place for ice users along the lines of the heroin injecting centre: a place where users can be monitored, where adverse physical and mental reactions to the drug can be professionally dealt with.
This could, like the injecting centre, become a place where users develop a trust relationship with staff and are eventually amenable to referral into treatment.
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