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

The Victorian Government is trialling a medically supervised injecting room at North Richmond Community Health.

With the high numbers of Victorians losing their lives to drug-related overdoses, the medically supervised injecting room (MSIR) is a safety-first, medical approach focused on harm reduction.

The MSIR will act as a gateway for clients to link with other health and support services, ensuring they have access to the full range of education and treatment they to need to reduce harm from their drug use and ultimately kick their drug dependency.

It will also work to reduce overdose deaths and overdose harm, improve neighbourhood amenity for local residents and businesses, and reduce the number of discarded needles and syringes in the neighbouring areas.

The trial will take place for an initial two year period with the option to extend the trial for a further three years. An independent panel will review the medically supervised injecting room trial.

After considering the evidence collected by the panel during the trial, a decision will be made on whether the service should continue.

 

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.

SafeScript - a clinical tool that will provide information about a patient’s prescription history for certain high-risk medicines.