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Residents 'at a loss' about Melbourne's safe injecting room being made permanent



A resident who lives nearby Melbourne's medically supervised injecting room has said the facility has only created "a disaster zone" in the suburb.

Chrissy Maynard, who has lived in Richmond for 27 years, has told Today she and fellow residents are "at a loss" as to why the government has decided to make the facility a permanent fixature.

"The only winners here are the drug dealers," she said.

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"It is a honeypot effect where everybody comes here to not only buy drugs but to do drugs. We've seen increasing crime, increasing injecting, and dead bodies, including one behind the tree where I'm standing right now. It is a disaster zone."

Maynard said members of the community had been having to call 000 for overdosed drug users found in the streets.

"Children should not have to see that on the way to school. A dead body under a sheet a couple of metres from a footpath is not appropriate for a small child, or anybody, to see for that matter."

The community has been raising issues about public drug use and syringes left in streets since a trial of the facility began in June 2018.

But the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) has praised the government's decision to make the supervised injecting room permanent.

Victoria's controversial medically supervised injecting room in North Richmond is set to become a permanent service, with a review finding it has saved 63 lives.

"This decision will save lives," RACGP President Dr Nicole Higgins said.

"I applaud the Victorian Government's courage and conviction in standing firm and making this decision. Alcohol and other drug use, including intravenous opioid drug use, must be seen through a health lens.

"We will get nowhere by declaring a 'war on drugs,' throwing the book at people, and pretending that a punitive approach will deter drug use."

Premier Daniel Andrews yesterday said an independent review into the trial of the facility had found it had saved 63 lives and "successfully managed almost 6000 overdoses" since it opened in June 2018.

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