Saving lives

Too many Victorians are losing their lives to drug addiction.

As demand for treatment services has grown, many families have been waiting too long for the medical help they need.

100 more drug treatment beds

A further $53.2 million is being invested to ensure that more people can get the help they need sooner.

Along with funding from the 2017-18 State Budget, this additional investment will see 100 new drug residential rehabilitation beds open by March 2018, to treat up to 400 extra people each year.

New rapid withdrawal and rehabilitation service

To give people the best chance of a full recovery after a drug residential rehabilitation stay, $11.7 million is being provided to trial a new eight-bed rapid withdrawal and rehabilitation service in Melbourne.

This new service, which will be available to people from across the state, will support up to 100 people each year to engage in drug treatment, reducing the likelihood of relapse.

Medically supervised injecting room – preventing overdoses

Heroin deaths are at their highest point in almost 20 years. This health emergency is concentrated around North Richmond in the City of Yarra.

Local families, first responders, medical experts, and the people who witness this devastation on their streets every day have told us something needs to be done. We have listened.

We will introduce legislation for a  trial of a medically supervised injecting room, to be operated by medical practitioners at North Richmond Community Health. Establishment of the medically supervised injecting room will be done in consultation with Victoria Police to minimise drug harm while supporting community safety. Clients will also be appropriately referred to other support services.

The evidence is clear, the medically supervised injecting centre in Kings Cross, Sydney has decreased overdose deaths by managing 6,089 overdoses without a single death.

The centre has also reduced the number of dirty needles in public places by almost half and led an 80% reduction in ambulance callouts.

Independent evaluations have also found that there is no evidence of the centre increasing local crime or drug use.

Community safety will continue to be a paramount consideration in Richmond, in addition to the enhanced Victoria Police response to drugs we have rolled out, safety is being prioritised throughout the area through the use of additional CCTV and lighting, to deter and respond to crime. 

Compulsory treatment for people with complex needs and violent behaviours

Legislation exists to treat people with alcohol or other drug problems involuntarily, in limited situations. However, not all people with complex needs, who sometimes pose a risk to others, and who refuse treatment, are captured by current laws.

The Government will commence consultation with experts on options to provide compulsory treatment for people 18 years and over, who have complex needs such as addiction and mental illness and who pose a risk to others.

Naloxone

Across the state we are subsidising the cost of Naloxone, a life-saving medication that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. We have expanded training and distribution of this drug to peers, families, first responders and communities as a key element of our response to overdose.

This effort is supported by a new proactive overdose outreach service delivered through peers and health workers personally following up drug users that have survived an overdose.

More support for the drug and alcohol workforce

Drug and alcohol workers play a critical role in a person’s journey to recovery from addiction. To grow the drug and alcohol nursing workforce and ensure they are equipped with the right support to enable them to provide the best treatment and care, an additional $450,000 is being invested in an extra 20 scholarships, and extra training.

Real time prescription monitoring

For many years more people have overdosed on pharmaceutical medicines than illicit drugs. It is a major public health challenge.

Through an investment of almost $30 million, and the introduction of new laws, we are rolling out a mandatory IT system that doctors and pharmacists can access before prescribing or supplying certain high-risk medicines.

Training is also being provided to ensure doctors and pharmacists are prepared to support and refer patients in need.