26 Apr 2024

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The Victorian Greens have called Labor’s recently announced hydromorphone trial a dangerous smokescreen, distracting from their decision to reject expert health advice and axe a second safe injecting room.

Earlier this week Labor announced it wouldn’t establish a second safe injecting room in the CBD despite this being the key recommendation in Ken Lay’s expert report.

Instead Labor announced a number of other smaller-scale drug harm reduction measures including a hydromorphone treatment trial.

While hydromorphone as a treatment maintains cross-party support, the announced trial will only service 30 people per year and won’t begin until 2026.

Victorian Greens drug harm reduction spokesperson, Aiv Puglielli, said it was clear Labor’s recently announced drug policies were a smokescreen to distract Victorians from the fact they were utterly failing to protect and support people who use drugs.

He said that the announcement also doesn’t address the looming threat of fentanyl and new synthetic opioids taking a dangerous stranglehold over the illicit drug market, with evidence having been clear for some time that the best way to prevent overdoses and death for people who use injectable drugs is to establish more safe injecting rooms.

Quotes attributable to Victorian Greens drug harm reduction spokesperson, Aiv Puglielli MLC:

“Hydromorphone is a treatment, not a trial. It needs to be urgently rolled out on a much bigger scale if it’s really going to meet the needs of the community.

“This announced trial doesn’t even start until 2026. Really it just looks like a smokescreen to cover Labor’s decision to reject expert health advice and axe a second safe injecting room.

“This shouldn’t be about politics. The path the new Premier is walking is dangerous. The decision to oppose new injecting rooms is a spineless captain’s call.

“Thirty people a year, with a 2026 start date. Meanwhile, people who are struggling with heroin addiction right now will continue to die on the streets of Melbourne, leaving the local community and families to deal with the consequences.

“Labor, get a grip – injecting rooms and drug checking saves lives.”

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