Thursday, 12 November 2009

Bipartisan Politicians Aim for Permanent Injection Centre in NSW

It would be safe to assume that when The Christian Democratic Party, Drug Free Australia (DFA), the right wing media and silly conservative politicians agree on a drug related initiative then we should probably take the opposite approach. Even more so when there is ample scientific evidence that the initiative is a success. For 8 years now, the NSW government has been stalling the decision to make the Medically Supervised Injecting Centre (MSIC) in Kings Cross permanent because of nutty, anti-drug warriors like DFA, John Howard, Fred Nile, Miranda Devine, Piers Akerman, Andrew Bolt, Peter Debnam, Christopher Pyne etc. But is that about to change? According to Andrew Potts of the Sydney Star Observer, there might be action on the horizon.

Political Support For Injecting Centre
By Andrew M Potts
Sydney Star Observer
November 2009

Politicians both state and federal and from across the political divide have come together to support a call to make the Kings Cross Medically Supervised Injecting Centre (MSIC) a permanent part of NSW Health’s response to drugs.

Members of the Parliamentary Group for Drug Law Reform gave their unanimous support for a motion in favour of the Centre moved by the federal Independent Member for Lyne, Rob Oakeshott.

“In accepting the valuable research and evaluation findings, this representative group of the members of Australian parliaments asks the NSW Government to expedite the end of the eight-year trial status of the MSIC and incorporate the centre and its service into the health programs delivered by NSW Health, due to the demonstrated benefits to individuals, families and the community,” the motion read.

“This is a cross-parliamentary, cross-party group that relies on an evidence-based approach to drug laws in Australia, not a sloganeering-based approach,” Oakeshott said.

“The overwhelming evidence from studies throughout the world tells us that supervised injecting facilities have been shown to reduce needle and syringe sharing, reduce sickness and death from drug overdose and increase uptake in drug treatment programs.”

Oakeshott said the Kings Cross centre has delivered a value to the surrounding area of over 30 times its running costs through reducing the associated harms of drug use.

“Perhaps of greatest significance is the finding that nearly three-quarters of residents and business operators in Kings Cross continue to support the Sydney MSIC,” he said.

The Parliamentary Group for Drug Law Reform will now seek meetings with Premier Nathan Rees and NSW Health Minister Carmel Tebbutt, as well as NSW Liberals leader Barry O’Farrell.

O’Farrell has previously pledged to close the centre.

The Parliamentary Group for Drug Law Reform is co-chaired by the Liberals’ Dr Mal Washer and the Labor Member for Fowler, Julia Irwin.

In recent years The Daily Telegraph and abstinence-only drug group Drug-Free Australia have called for the centre’s closure.

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