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Richmond drug injecting trial deserves robust evaluation

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02.03.2019

The 109 ambles up Victoria Street. It’s just after 7am on a typical morning and this famous strip comes alive.

The safe injecting room at North Richmond Community Health.Credit:Darrian Traynor

Steel roller-doors, having guarded against the night, disappear as the traders emerge to open their stores to the world outside. Drivers, racing to get in front of every tram, are gripped by indecision over the left or right lane, while cyclists eye off frustrated motorists with a triumphal mien that comes from knowing it’s so often quicker to get from Burnley Street to Hoddle Street on two wheels than four.

At the tram super stop at the corner of Lennox and Victoria, it seems peak hour has brought everyone together. Almost egalitarian. People in suits stand next to people in construction gear stand next to people in school uniforms. Among them, flowing out from the side streets, are those who bear the plaintive countenance of authors who somewhere on their journey lost control of their own story.

Yet for those in the public housing estates around Elizabeth Street and those in other residences throughout the area, some challenges are more keenly felt. The scourge of drug use and trafficking is more evident here than just about any other part of Melbourne.

The government’s two-year trial of the Medically Supervised Injecting Room on Lennox Street, is one of........

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