Guild backs safe injecting facility call

Angelo Pricolo.

A coalition of health professionals and community leaders, including the Pharmacy Guild, have backed Sex Party leader Fiona Patten’s bid for a safe injecting facility trial

Ms Patten has called for an 18-month trial of such a facility in North Richmond.

Pharmacy Guild national councillor Angelo Pricolo says that the Victorian branch of the Guild “declares its support for this proposed trial on the basis of the urgent need to address the issues in the local area, and the successful outcomes reported from the Sydney injecting facility”.

“The Pharmacy Guild of Australia is firmly committed to reducing the social, health and economic costs of drug misuse and addiction in Australia,” Mr Pricolo says.

“The Guild believes that a national coordinated approach to the management and treatment of opioid base drug addiction is required, given the magnitude of the issue.

“The Guild supports a harm-reduction approach which recognises that an individual’s engagement in drug misuse, illegal drug supply or illegal drug manufacture generally has flow-on health, social, economic, environmental and other consequences for those around him or her including for family, workplace, neighbourhoods and the broader community.”

An editorial in last week’s Melbourne Herald Sun pointed out that more than 6000 potentially fatal overdoses have been revived at the Sydney facility, ambulance call outs to street emergencies in the area have dropped by 80%, and the number of publicly discarded syringes has halved. 

“This makes a compelling case to allow a trial in Victoria,” Mr Pricolo says.

He told the AJP today that Richmond is “in crisis,” as other hotspots in Victoria and around the country.

“The public in these areas, as a long time ago at Kings Cross, are subjected to witnessing overdoses and stepping on syringes,” Mr Pricolo says.

“After the centre opened, the number of publicly discarded needles and syringes halved and ambulance call outs dropped by 80%.

“If ambulance callouts have dropped by 80% this means response time reduces: so an ambulance will get to a roadside accident or heart attack quicker and potentially this saves more lives.

“As pharmacists we supply one third of all syringes that people who inject drugs use and we supply from our safes many of the opioid and other classes of drugs that are injected.

“We are intimately involved in the supply chain and as a result many feel strongly about helping the individuals and the society in which we live.”

The establishment of these facilities more widely will provide an interface to reduce the harms rampaging on users but also the subsequent cost to communities, Mr Pricolo says.

“They provide an opportunity to save lives and the knock on effect of drug use for so many.”

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