Prominent experts in Addiction are calling for the establishment of a Supervised Injecting Facility (SIF) in Melbourne. The State Government isn’t listening. I wrote to a Professor involved in Addiction research who is advocating for a SIF, possibly in Richmond, an area where IV drug use is prominent.

“Dear Sir,

When the current VIC Government came to power, I wrote to the Premier & Police Minister requesting that serious consideration be given to the establishment of a supervised injecting facility (SIF) in Melbourne, based on evidence of their efficacy internationally (over 600 facilities) and in Kings Cross.

I received a shocking, prejudiced & ignorant response from the Victorian Government. Apart from stating “Never, ever” to the very idea, the response made two key points:

1. It would send the “wrong message” to Victorian youth”.

2. The response acknowledged that Government policy re SIF would lead to more overdose deaths than would otherwise occur but this was a price the Government was prepared to pay to protect young Victorians!

I rebutted these excuses in my reply to the above, quoting research done in Australia & Canada & pointing out the views on this matter by leading AOD researchers & clinicians. I got NO response whatsoever from these miserable politicians!

My question to you is, are you able to bend the Government’s ear to this issue & convince them that it’s a no-brainer that’s long overdue!

85% of politicians today are lawyers. They craft the legislation, determine whether alleged breaches of the law have occurred, choose to prosecute or not, try the charges, judge defendants, impose penalties that can include long term deprivation of liberty & administer Corrections. They review legislation & propose reforms when & how they wish. Other lawyers determine whether or not reforms will or will not be implemented. When things go badly wrong, a senior lawyer is often tasked with leading an inquiry into what went wrong and why, from which more recommendations flow. The above circus, in which one privileged profession has assumed the vast bulk of available power & influence on how our country is run, is ironically called a Democracy!

This bizarre situation has led to experts being ignored and or overruled by politicians with the massive conflict of interest of requiring public support to remain in power, influence & wealth.

Why my little statement on Civics? ……..to emphasise that I will understand if you, like me, have tried and failed to be taken seriously & have had your expertise ignored or dismissed.

If you have not attempted or recommended the establishment of a SIF, perhaps you could tell me why not?

Finally, given the extreme unlikelihood of our political system changing anytime soon, let’s hope that the mooted Heroin Vaccine, arrives very soon. With Addiction still not considered a “disease” by some experts (NOT the American Society of Addiction Medicine), the Government and much of the public, we continue to allow stigma & bigotry to blight the lives of its victims. Worse still, thousands of sick citizens are incarcerated in prisons, their freedom lost, due to the predictable behavioural symptoms and consequences of the disease of “Addiction” and the failed, irrational policies of Prohibition.

Please reply – I don’t know what to do next to effect change. Assisting in the sounding of the alarm has been Step One, even if the Government simply hits the “SNOOZE” button but I’d much prefer to facilitate meaningful attitudinal & practical change.”

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