No longer just an inner city issue: meeting the demand for needles, syringes and Opioid Replacement Therapies (ORTs) across Melbourne's western suburbs

Public health Drugs and alcohol Australia Victoria Melbourne
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Sufficient access to needles, syringes and opioid replacement therapies (ORTs) across the western suburbs of Melbourne is an important health issue for the people who require these services, the organisations that support their health and welfare and the communities they live in.

This document outlines current issues with access to these services in the western metropolitan region and makes recommendations for action.

Key recommendations:

  • Establishment for and support of formal peer distribution of needles and syringes amongst people in the west
  • Attitudes of stigma and discrimination within the community towards people who require needles, syringes and ORTs to be addressed
  • Establishment of a supervised injecting facility in the west • Establishment of an additional primary NSP in Sunshine
  • Establishment of additional secondary NSP sites across the west that utilise space within existing community health centres. A secondary site is particularly needed in Sunshine and Deer Park.
  • Enhanced access to needles, syringes and ORTs in the outer west. Specifically an additional secondary NSP site is needed in Wyndham and additional ORT prescribers are required in Melton.
  • Enhanced after-hours access to needles and syringes by extending the boundaries of the North West Mobile Outreach Service to Deer Park and St Albans, and installing equipment dispensing machines in the west.
  • Establishment of formal networks that link GPs, pharmacists, AOD agencies, social support agencies and consumers to support access to needles, syringes and ORTs at a local level
  • Establishment of training for GP practice staff to improve understanding of ORT clients and reduce stigma
  • Undertaking of a planned program in partnership with Pharmacy Guild of Victoria and the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia to recruit more pharmacies to dispense ORTs
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