Pubdate: Mon, 08 May 2000
Source: Herald Sun (Australia)
Copyright: News Limited 2000
Author: Michael Sedgley
Note: Dr Michael Sedgley is Victorian president of the Australian Medical


Victoria has passed a resolution supporting trials of supervised injecting

Such facilities in other countries have not recorded any deaths. This is
encouraging information and a good enough basis for testing such facilities
in Melbourne.

Overdoses do occur in such facilities, but access to emergency treatment
means these people's lives are saved. If they had been down an alley or in
a park, their chance of survival would not be so great.

We need a trial to determine how effective the facilities are. In Germany,
overdose rates have been rising -- except in the cities which have
injecting rooms, where they have fallen 30 per cent in the past year.

In Switzerland, overdose deaths continued to rise after the establishment
of one facility in 1986. But when more opened and other harm-minimisation
strategies were implemented, the number of deaths halved between 1992 and

We cannot continue to allow our young people to die. We must try a
comprehensive approach based on helping people get through addiction with
their lives intact.
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