international family drug support day – opinion piece
International Family Drug Support Day is held on 24 February and marked by a range of events and activities around Australia.
On 5 June 2020, the Victorian Government announced plans to open a second supervised injecting service in the City of Melbourne. The decision was based on a recommendation made by an Independent Review Panel which found that the service saves lives and provides necessary support to people struggling with drug addiction.
cohealth Central City (53 Victoria Street) was selected as the preferred provider for this service. Central City has a long history of providing essential community health services in the City of Melbourne and the health workers there have strong relationships with the local community.
More than 50 Victorians died of heroin-related causes in the City of Melbourne between January 2015 and September 2019 alone. cohealth has an opportunity to not only save lives but to transform lives.
A supervised injecting service (SIS) provides cohealth with the opportunity to expand the range of critical health and social services that cohealth already provides to the City of Melbourne. cohealth’s team of qualified clinicians are committed to providing a full range of services to people struggling with drug addiction, who need expert, trauma informed support and care. Doing so will help contribute to a safer Melbourne and provide life-changing support to those who need it.
cohealth’s vision is to deliver a small and integrated SIS to provide the much-needed support and care for vulnerable members of the community, some who already use the existing services at Central City.
A consultation process is underway, led by former Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Ken Lay.
Mr Lay will work with health and drug reform experts to review data and evidence on drug harms within the City of Melbourne and oversee a public community engagement process, seeking the views of all interested parties on the establishment of the service.
The consultation process will consider drug activity and harms, existing health and social services, safety and amenity, transport options, policing and infrastructure requirements.
This work will then be put together with a report presented to the Minister for Mental Health by the end of 2020.
cohealth is committed to listening to and working with our community stakeholders throughout this process to ensure that this service is established to benefit the whole of the community.
Interested community parties who would like to contribute formally to the consultation process can register their interest via the Government’s website.
If the consultation process suggests an alternative site which best suits the needs of our clients, cohealth would welcome the opportunity to work with the City of Melbourne to establish the SIS as part of an integrated health service at another location.
If you have any questions, concerns, or opinions that you would like to discuss directly with the cohealth team, please make contact with Lanie Harris, Communications and Media Advisor.