Mayor opposes injecting room

Kings Cross injecting centre. Picture: Peter Rae
Kings Cross injecting centre. Picture: Peter Rae

LIVERPOOL mayor Ned Mannoun says there will never be an injecting room in Liverpool while he leads the council.

A coalition of medical and drug experts recently called for a second supervised injecting centre to be opened in Sydney, in either Liverpool or Fairfield, after a spike in overdoses from heroin and similar drugs.

A new drug reform group, Unharm, said the Medically Supervised Injecting Centre in Kings Cross had saved thousands of lives and more could be saved if services were available in other areas.

But Cr Mannoun said there was no need for the service in Liverpool.

"We don't have a problem with heroin use in this area and for those people that are struggling with this we have several pharmacies offering the methodone [program]," Cr Mannoun said.

"So I think we do enough to assist with this problem. And the CCTV cameras are discouraging drug use in the streets.

"The people supporting this have never been to Liverpool and don't realise that this area has changed a lot."

He said he opposed injecting rooms because they encouraged people to do something illegal.

Unharm co-founder Will Tregoning said politicians were patting themselves on the back for supporting the Kings Cross injecting room while neglecting other parts of Sydney.

He said Fairfield or Liverpool had the greatest need, although other places could also be suitable.

Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation president and a doctor specialising in drug and alcohol abuse, Alex Wodak, said Australia was seeing a growth in deaths from heroin and other opioids, after years of declines.

He said the injecting room provided social benefits, as the people who visited it tended to be "the most disadvantaged of a very disadvantaged group".

Matt Noffs, the chief executive of the Ted Noffs Foundation, who had managed its street university program in Liverpool, said there was a need for more drug and alcohol services in the area.

"It would improve people's lives, not just the people who are injecting, but the people around them," Mr Noffs said.


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