Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are advised that the following post contains the names and stories of proud Aboriginal women now resting in the Dreaming.

The Inquest into the death of
Ronnie Nelson Began This Week....

Veronica M Nelson: Inquest (

This case is imperative- firstly, to ensure justice for Veronica and secondly, for many of us, past and present, in the community.

We at Harm Reduction Victoria are watching this inquest carefully to understand whether her health status is seen to have impacted on how she was treated and why it appears that basic duties of care were not followed in our Victorian system.

This affects too many of us in similar situations.


SATURDAY, 25 JUNE 2022 AT 18:15

Double Movie: The Fix with Johann Hari & Candy, a Story of Love & Addiction

From A$22  · 1 Chapel Street,St Kilda,3182,AU

Join Johann Hari for a double feature screening of The Fix and Candy, an Australian story of love and addiction for Support Don’t Punish.

Video Presentation

The NarcoFeminism Story Share Project

HRVic are proud to share with our community, this amazing new video featuring the narcofeminism story share model of the North Carolina Urban Survivors Union. In this video we hear from womxn who use drugs as they share stories about their drug use, stigma, discrimination, pregnancy and parenting. 

Watch the video here

Or listen to it as a podcast here:

The story share model is an important tool for deconstructing the internalized narratives around the drug war.  

Traditional story share models often reinforce tropes and stigma we find in existing cultural narrative projects.  Reproductive Harm Reduction is an inclusive powerful new paradigm focused on pregnant and parenting people who use drugs, and it was born from the Narcofeminism story share experience.


Thank you so much to Louise Vincent for conceptualizing and coordinating this video, and to Drugreporter for overseeing the editing and production. 



Alcohol and other Drugs:
Lived and Living Experience Advisory Group

Expression of Interest (EOI)

The Victorian Department of Health recognises that the long-term strategic direction for Victoria’s AOD system must embed the expertise, views and preferences of people with lived and living experience of substance use or dependence and their allies & family members.

To this end, the AOD Lived and Living Experience Advisory Group (LLEAG) has been established to support meaningful participation and partnership with people with lived and living experience of substance use or dependence, family members and supporters across a range of initiatives.

The LLEAG has been meeting since September 2020 and currently meets bi-monthly within usual business hours.

The Victorian Government is committed to ensuring that government boards and committees reflect the rich diversity of the Victorian community.

We encourage applications from people of all ages, Aboriginal people, people with disability, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and from lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, gender diverse, intersex and queer people.

Expressions of interest are now open for additional members that reflect the diverse lived and living experience voices of the community. Active engagement of Victoria’s diverse communities is important to better understand and respond to the unique and specific needs of different groups and drive inclusive and equitable outcomes.

Interested persons are asked to complete the EOI questions and return this form to:

Edward Stott, LLEAG Secretariat, AOD Policy at

More information in forms. Download forms HERE >

Please contact Edward Stott on 03 9595 2164 or via email if you have any additional questions, need additional support in completing the form or would like it in a different format.


You can also reach out to us at HRVic HERE if you have any queries.

AUG. 04 2021

Good news!

Finally the law has caught up with us taking care of each other. Today-Aug 4th 2021,  legal changes in Victoria mean it is no longer a crime for community members to give out clean needles and syringes  to eachother!  Though many of us have been doing this for years and NSPs ask us how many people we’re picking up for, it has technically been illegal to give syringes to anyone other than yourself- until now! 

Alongside this development, naloxone distribution laws and regulations are also changing.  

How this will work is still being developed, but by the end of the year it should be possible for community members to walk into a  service like an NSP and get take-home naloxone instead of needing a prescription or chemist to sell it.

Both of these changes were recommendations from Victoria’s 2018 Parliamentary Inquiry into Drug Law Reform and HRVic has been advocating for these changes for years. 

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World Hep Day 2021 videos-

PATH- Peer Assisted Treatment for Hep C

World Hepatitis Day is observed each year on 28 July to raise awareness of viral hepatitis, an inflammation of the liver that causes severe liver disease and hepatocellular cancer. This year’s theme is “Hepatitis Can’t Wait”. With a person dying every 30 seconds from a hepatitis related illness – even in the current COVID-19 crisis – we can’t wait to act on viral hepatitis. There are five main strains of the hepatitis virus – A, B, C, D and E. Together, hepatitis B and C are the most common which result in 1.1 million deaths and 3 million new infections per year.

“Hep Can’t Wait and neither can social change." 

-Harm Reduction Victoria Statement on World Hepatitis Day 2021 

For World Hepatitis Day 2021 Harm Reduction Victoria says that while Hep Can’t Wait, we also believe rapid, simplified testing & treatment can’t wait, more peer workers in hepatitis C treatment can’t wait, social equity can’t wait, and decriminalisation can’t wait.

Harm Reduction Victoria fully stands behind the effort to eliminate hepatitis C in Victoria but believes that the social conditions faced by many people who use drugs are standing in the way of this drive. More options for simplified testing and treatment are needed so we can prioritise hepatitis C.

Harm Reduction Victoria’s experience as the peer organisation for people who use drugs in Victoria gives us unique insight into the social dynamics and health needs of the community of people who inject drugs.

Hep C, while a key issue for people who inject drugs, is unlikely to overtake the day-to-day priorities faced by the most marginalised of us. Due to criminalisation, stigma and discrimination, poverty, and the complications of managing dependence, many in our community already have an overwhelming burden of urgent issues to deal with.

Immediate priorities like housing; employment; Centrelink or job service obligations; corrections requirements; child protection issues; raising money to buy food or drugs; all take up time and energy in daily life for many of us. While the community recognises that hep C treatment is beneficial for individuals, and elimination would be momentous; a disease that might cause death or illness in one’s future is almost never going to feel as urgent as the survival issues faced by PWID on a daily basis.

If we are going to eliminate hep C by 2030, we will need to both assist people to resolve these issues and urgently attend to the structural issues that underpin our marginalisation – criminalisation, discrimination and social inequity.

Right now, we need to ensure that those who wish to have a range of ways to access testing & treatment for hep C, including simplified one-stop testing and treatment, and we need to continue to find ways to make hep C treatment top of mind, including by incentivising treatment.


From SHARC's 'From The Source' Podcast 

Pharmacotherapy is a treatment for opioid dependence that plays a vital role in many Victorians' lives. 

In response to COVID-19, a number of changes were made to the way it is delivered. Some of these changes had profound effects on peoples' lives, and there is ongoing debate as to which, if any, should be kept beyond the pandemic period.   

For part 1 we get a firsthand view of the changes from a group of consumers.

Please also check out part 2 for an interview with Sarah Lord, who works at Pharmacotherapy Advocacy, Mediation & Support, a service of Harm Reduction Victoria. Sarah provides both detail and overview, and this may be a good place to start if you're new to the topic. 

The show is brought to you by the Association of Participating Service Users (APSU), which is a service of the Self Help Addiction Resource Centre (SHARC). APSU is a Victorian consumer body that believes the voices of people with lived experience of AOD issues should be heard and incorporated into service design and delivery. 

The views expressed in this podcast are not necessarily the views of APSU or SHARC. Names and identifying details may have been changed for privacy reasons.

Music is by dbh. There’s plenty more of it here.

Pharma_part_1From The SOurce Podcast PART 1
00:00 / 17:53

In part 2 we hear from Sarah Lord, who works at Pharmacotherapy Advocacy, Mediation & Support (PAMS), a service of Harm Reduction Victoria.

Sarah gives an inside perspective on how some of the changes were designed and implemented, their effects from her point of view, and an overview of pharmacotherapy in general.

If you are having difficulties accessing treatment, call PAMS on 1800 443 844 or visit  

Please also check out part 1 to hear the views of a group of consumers with firsthand experience of the changes.

The show is brought to you by the Association of Participating Service Users (APSU), which is a service of the Self Help Addiction Resource Centre (SHARC). APSU is a Victorian consumer body that believes the voices of people with lived experience of AOD issues should be heard and incorporated into service design and delivery. 

The views expressed in this podcast are not necessarily the views of APSU or SHARC. Names and identifying details may have been changed for privacy reasons.

Music is by dbh. There’s plenty more of it here.

Pharma_part_2From The Source - PODCAST Part 2
00:00 / 39:27



Statement from INPUD

A statement from the International Network for People Who Use Drugs on International Drug Users Day 2020


Safe Injecting Room

Media Release 5 June 2020


Victoria Safe Injecting Room decision commended by affected communities

In Memoriam

Vale Jude Byrne

Harm Reduction Victoria's team, Board and community feel the loss of Jude Byrne keenly. Jude was often in touch with us about issues that affect us and a constant presence fighting alongside us at national meetings and conferences. She knew how to cut to the heart of any issue in a few sentences and knowing Jude was with us was to know we had a warrior to back us up. No one can replace Jude but we will continue to fight in her honour.



EVENTS Locally, Nationally, Internationally


Exclusive movie screening of

'The United States vs Billie Holiday'

with a live introduction by Johann Hari

interviewed by Jenny Valentish.

About this event

Join Johann Hari and Jenny Valentish for an exclusive movie screening of The United States vs. Billie Holiday at The Astor Theatre in St. Kilda on Support Don’t Punish Day, Saturday 26 June, starting from 7:00 pm.

This amazing biography delves into the beginning of the criminalisation of people who use drugs in America based on the New York Times Best Selling book, Chasing the Scream by internationally acclaimed writer Johann Hari.

Johann will appear live from London via video link to introduce the movie and talk about the amazing back story of Billie Holiday and her battle with Harry Aslinger, the newly appointed head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics.

He will be talking live on screen with Jenny Valentish, a journalist and author of ‘Woman of Substances: A Journey into Addiction and Treatment’, where she explores the unique experiences of women with alcohol and drugs.

Then after a short intermission, the movie will start at 8:00 o'clock, which provides a fascinating look at Billie Holiday’s illustrious career as a legendary jazz singer as she battled addiction, racism and was targeted by the FBI through an undercover sting operation in an effort to silence her.

Support Don't Punish

On Tuesday, 26th of June, more than 150 cities across the world will take part in the global advocacy campaign ‘Support. Don’t Punish’, calling on governments to enact drug policies that prioritise public health, human rights, and provide greater access to harm reduction interventions.

There will be information tables from Australia's leading Alcohol and Other Drugs NGO's.

Date and time

Sat., 26 June 2021

7:00 pm – 10:00 pm AEST


The Astor Theatre

1 Chapel Street

St Kilda, VIC 3182


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:

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.​

To access the report go to:

January 09 2019 - 


The latest attempt to drum up a moral drug panic[1], conveniently in the middle of a national debate on pill testing[2], revolves around a substance that’s being called ‘Monkey Dust’[3].

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[4]. In both cases the chemical being referred to as ‘Monkey Dust’ is MDPV[5], a stimulant with a short history of human use.

About 10 years ago, MDPV and similar substances were being sold as ‘bath salts’[6] and ‘synthetic cocaine’[7]. 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[8]. 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”[9], 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[10]. Recommendation 25 is that a review of the implementation and enforcement of the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Miscellaneous Amendment Act 2017[11] 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,[12] 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 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


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November 2018


November 2018- UPDATE


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..."

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.



Sione Crawford

Chief Executive Officer


June 2018

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)




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:$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:$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: