Media Release 5 June 2020
Victoria Safe Injecting Room decision commended by affected communities
Harm Reduction Victoria commends the Victorian Government for committing to a second safe injecting facility in Melbourne and extending the trial of the North Richmond injecting room.
As a peer organisation comprised of people with lived experience of drug use, we congratulate the Premier, Daniel Andrews and his government Ministers for their commitment to inclusivity in Victoria and their support and compassion for people on the margins, including people who inject drugs and all of those affected by overdose.
Sione Crawford, Harm Reduction Victoria CEO says, “We know that fatal drug overdose takes too many lives in Victoria. The new injecting facility in central Melbourne will save lives, just as the North Richmond's Medically Supervised Injecting Room has succeeded in doing, for the past two years.”
“Harm Reduction Victoria will continue to partner with North Richmond Community Health to facilitate peer and consumer engagement in supporting the MSIR and looks forward to continuing its partnerships with all stakeholders to help make the new facility the best it can be for the community that will use it.”
For further comment or information please contact Harm Reduction Victoria on 03 9329 1500, or Sione Crawford, CEO on 0406755921
About Harm Reduction Victoria:
We are a consumer and peer organisation comprised of people with a lived experience of injecting and illicit drug use. We are committed to the principles of harm reduction which are built upon respect and tolerance for all people in our community. Nothing about us without us.
See the Announcement here:
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EVENTS- Locally, Nationally, Internationally
Prevention in Practice Conference –
Melbourne 24 – 25th June 2019
Australia’s first conference dedicated to the prevention of alcohol and other drug harms. Topics include:
• the impact of sport in AOD prevention
• peers and their role in protecting from AOD-related harms
• prevention in a range of complex settings such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, education and culturally diverse communities.
Please visit our website for more information and to register: https://adf.org.au/conference/
AWARDS: Nominations OPEN 2020
2019 Alcohol and Other Drugs Excellence and Innovation Awards Melbourne 24th June
These awards encourage, recognise and celebrate the achievements of the incredible people and organisations that do exceptional work to prevent and reduce the harm and impact of alcohol and other drugs in Australia. Nominations are open to all people and organisations working across the health and wellbeing sectors in Australia. Visit our website for full details and to nominate: https://adf.org.au/programs/2019-aod-awards/
MEDIA RELEASES & REPORTS
January 22, 2020 -
AIHW REPORT: Alcohol, tobacco & other drugs in Australia
AIHW Report: Alcohol, tobacco & other drugs in Australia
The consumption of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs is a major cause of preventable disease and illness in Australia. This report consolidates the most recently available information on alcohol, tobacco and other drug use in Australia, and includes key trends in the availability, consumption, harms and treatment for vulnerable populations. Further, information on a range of health, social and economic impacts of alcohol, tobacco and other drug use are highlighted.
January 09 2019 -
MEDIA RELEASE: MONKEY's MUST BE DEVELOPING OUR DRUG POLICIES: MEDIA'S MORAL PANIC OVER ‘Monkey Dust’ – AGAIN...(and again)
The latest attempt to drum up a moral drug panic, conveniently in the middle of a national debate on pill testing, revolves around a substance that’s being called ‘Monkey Dust’.
This is not the first time there has been a media panic about ‘Monkey Dust’. In August 2018, they were warning Australians of a ‘Monkey Dust’ epidemic. In both cases the chemical being referred to as ‘Monkey Dust’ is MDPV, a stimulant with a short history of human use.
About 10 years ago, MDPV and similar substances were being sold as ‘bath salts’ and ‘synthetic cocaine’. Back then, it was not a prohibited substance and was sometimes being sold in adult stores, tobacconists and novelty stores as part of a grey market. The substances were sold with disclaimers like, ‘not for human consumption’.
MDPV was prohibited in Australia in 2012.
There was bipartisan support for prohibition of the drug and criminalisation of its users as the sole policy option to deal with MDPV, not only in Australia, but worldwide, along with a selection of other novel psychoactive substances that had been emerging around the same time. The two major Australian political parties had members making arguments in parliament at the time about, ‘creating regulatory environments, so citizens are not exposed to the harmful effects of drugs’ and that, ‘these synthetic drugs are as harmful as currently prohibited drugs’.
This prohibition strategy appears to have failed, once again, as the Herald Sun have ran this headline on the 8th of January: “Fears over killer new drug Monkey Dust”, reporting about MDPV. Surely if prohibition worked we would not be back in this place again?
Unfortunately, the reality of this sort of reporting is that it can act as a catalyst for demand for often obscure novel psychoactive substances, like MDPV.
If people do decide to actively seek out MDPV, it’s important to understand the risks associated with this drug and the number one risk with any novel psychoactive substance (also referred to as ‘research chemical’) is that it has a very short history of human use. We don’t and can’t know the full range of potential risks and harms associated with this drug because there just hasn’t been enough time for research into the shorter and longer term effects.
It is highly advisable not to experiment on yourself with drugs that we know little about. There are several deaths associated with MDPV toxicity.
That said, there will always be some intrepid psychonauts who choose to use themselves as research subjects. For those people, there is self-reported and anecdotal information on drug forums that provides a far better overview of the potential risks than mainstream media moral panic articles.
Last year, Fiona Patten’s wide-ranging inquiry into Victoria’s drug laws was tabled. Recommendation 25 is that a review of the implementation and enforcement of the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Miscellaneous Amendment Act 2017 be conducted in mid-2019 to evaluate its effectiveness in eliminating the emergence of new psychoactive substances (NPS), and identify any unintended consequences. Other areas for review should include enforcement, NPS-related harms, NPS availability and prevalence.
Dr Stephen Bright warned our governments that prohibition would likely shift the harm, since it does not address the demand for these new drugs, which many people have used to avoid failing a urine workplace test. Dr Bright also said that it would lead to unintentional consumption of the drugs with unscrupulous, yet entrepreneurial individuals realising they could sell them as traditional illegal drugs, which are quite expensive in Australia, meaning significant profits.
Prohibition has contributed to the need to have pill testing, by incentivizing new drug creation and even more misleading practices in the black market. The policy of prohibition is considered the only acceptable legal strategy for dealing with drug harms, despite the fact it exacerbates those harms.
WHAT DO WE KNOW?
WHAT IS IT: MDPV [3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone] is a euphoric stimulant with effects reported to be similar to methylphenidate at low doses and cocaine at higher doses. It is most likely toxic to the cardiovascular and cognitive systems. It is pure white to light-brown clumpy powder with a slight odor, that often changes properties when exposed to air.
DURATION: The MDPV experience lasts around 2-4 hours, taking effect between 30 minutes and 2 hours after administration. The experience may last longer with higher doses, which are also riskier to health. Do not redose before two hours after administration.
DOSE: MDPV can be insufflated (snorted), taken orally or rectally (shelved). Doses for insufflation range from 2mg-5mg for a light effect to 10mg-20mg for a strong effect. Oral doses are similar, with a light dose range between 4mg-10mg and a stronger dose of 12mg-25mg.
MDPV is widely reported to lead to compulsive redosing, which many people have found to lead them into difficulties with this substance.
Author: Nick Wallis,
DanceWize Officer, Harm Reduction Victoria
'MONKEY DUST' (MDPV) RESOURCE
November 2018- UPDATE
MEDIA RELEASE: MY HEALTH RECORD- SUPPORT FOR 12-MONTH EXTENSION TO OPT-OUT PERIOD FOR ‘MY HEALTH RECORD’
Minister for Health Greg Hunt just tweeted: "Today the Government worked with the Senate crossbench to extend the opt-out period for #MyHealthRecord. The opt-out period will be extended until January 31, 2019..."
MEDIA RELEASE: MY HEALTH RECORD- SUPPORT FOR 12-MONTH EXTENSION TO OPT-OUT PERIOD FOR ‘MY HEALTH RECORD’
Harm Reduction Victoria’s peak body, the Australian and Injecting and Illicit Drug Users League (AIVL) has joined a growing chorus of community groups supporting Australian Senate moves to extend the opt-out period for the ‘My Health Record’ by 12 months.
The deadline to opt-out is currently tomorrow November 15 - but the recommended deadline extension – along with a host of other recommendations from a recent Senate Committee report, remain unaddressed.
We hope that the Senate of Australia will today extend the opt-out period. Mel Walker AIVL CEO says, “While the concept is sound, AIVL’s concerns are focused on the potential for unintended consequences for people who use drugs. People who use drugs are already often confronted with stigma and discrimination in healthcare settings. The implementation of My Health Record as it currently stands will mean that for many people, there will be a whole host of people in healthcare settings who will have access to a lot more information than previously. While in some cases this may be useful, there are many instances in which access to additional information may not be helpful and may indeed contribute to experiences of stigma and discrimination by people.”
If people are concerned about this potential for stigma & discrimination they have until midnight on November 15 to opt out. If the Senate do extend the opt-out period we will update this statement.
Chief Executive Officer
REPORT: Groovin The Moo, ACT- Pill testing pilot 2018
Download and read PDF here.
09 May 2018
MEDIA RELEASE: Australian Injecting and Illicit Drug Users League (AIVL)
HEALTH BUDGET: A GOOD START BUT MORE TO DO ON DRUG SUPPORT SERVICES
The Australian Injecting and Illicit Drug Users League (AIVL) has welcomed some additional funding for drug treatment in tonight's Federal Budget but is disappointed that other key harm reduction measures have missed out. AIVL is calling on the Australian Government to abandon its planned trial of drug testing for welfare recipients and redirect that funding into frontline services in the wake of the Budget. AIVL is also calling for a stronger focus on people exiting custodial settings to strengthen Australia's efforts under the new national blood borne virus (BBV) and sexually transmissible infections (STI) strategies.
"While the Government will provide $40M over 3 years to expand GP services ($20M) and provide additional funding for residential rehabilitation services ($20M), further investment will be required to ensure that the alcohol and other drug (AOD) service system is able to meet existing demand. Just yesterday, the Government reaffirmed its commitment to implementing a trial of drug testing for welfare recipients in its majority report for the inquiry into the Social Services Legislation Amendment (Drug Testing Trial) Bill 2018. However, the inquiry report is filled with expert testimony urging the Government not to proceed. We would like to see the funding that has been allocated for drug testing of welfare recipients redirected into frontline services," explained Melanie Walker, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of AIVL.
"There's a full suite of evidence-based interventions in the AOD sector but services are currently under-resourced and struggling to keep up with demand. For instance, we already knew from previous studies that investment in Needle and Syringe Programs (NSPs) between 2000 and 2009 prevented nearly 97,000 Hepatitis C infections and 32,050 HIV infections - for every dollar spent on NSPs, more than $4 will be returned in savings to the health system[i]. AIVL recently released a new report looking at ways to enhance the effectiveness of NSPs across the country to address access issues and maximise the public health benefits[ii]. NSPs remain a very cost effective way of preventing the transmission of BBVs - increasing access to NSPs should be a high priority.
"Evidence-based AOD treatment is also a good investment. For every $1 invested in AOD treatment, society gains $7. However, while approximately 200,000 people receive AOD treatment in any one year in Australia, it is estimated that an additional 200,000 - 500,000 people seeking treatment are unable to access it[iii]. People don't need to be coerced into accessing drug treatment - there just aren't enough treatment places to meet demand. This Budget will go some way towards addressing unmet need but there's a long way to go if we are to meet the needs of those individuals, families and communities struggling to address AOD problems.
"It is also important that people entering and exiting custodial contexts are not forgotten. Ensuring access to the full suite of preventive, harm reduction measures - and ensuring that people are able to continue their engagement with AOD and BBV treatments post-release - are tangible ways that we could protect more Australians from contracting BBVs. There is a real need for a national policy to guide prisons in jurisdictions[iv].
"It would be great to see enhanced investment in these types of cost effective harm reduction and demand reduction measures as part of future federal budgets," said Ms Walker.
AIVL is the national organisation representing people who use/have used illicit drugs and is the peak body for the state and territory
peer-based drug user organisations.
MEDIA CONTACT: Melanie Walker, CEO, AIVL - 0438 430 963
[i] Return on Investment 2: Evaluating the cost-effectiveness of needle and syringe programs in Australia: http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/content/A407CF4FECBDC715CA257BF0001F98B2/$File/retexe.pdf
[ii] Needle and Syringe Programs in Australia: Peer-led Best Practice:
[iii] New Horizons: The review of alcohol and other drug treatment services in Australia: http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/content/FD5975AFBFDC7013CA258082000F5DAB/$File/The-Review-of-alcohol-and-other-drug-treatment-services-in-Australia.pdf
[iv] A needs analysis for people living with HCV after leaving custodial settings in Australia: