Sydney's Medically Supervised Injecting Centre

Parliament house flag post

Sydney's Medically Supervised Injecting Centre

Posted 15/09/2010 by Matthew Thomas

A half full syringe
After around ten years of operating on a trial basis, the New South Wales Government has indicated that it intends to make Sydney’s Medically Supervised Injecting Centre (MSIC) a permanent facility. Despite the MSIC’s success in saving lives and reducing the incidence of infectious disease, the NSW Government has until now chosen not to grant it a more permanent status. This has been despite ongoing calls from medical experts and the Centre’s operator, Uniting Care, to lift the trial period and make the centre permanent.
Australia’s sole Medically Supervised Injecting Centre was set up on a trial basis in 2001 in Sydney’s Kings Cross, and has operated on this basis to date. The MSIC is supported by NSW enabling legislation (the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985) that was amended in 1999, and again in 2003 to enable the centre to continue to operate to 2007 on a trial basis. In 2007, the legislation was amended once again to further extend the MSIC trial for another four years to the end of October 2011.

Supervised injecting centres (also known as drug consumption rooms and safe injecting rooms) are essentially facilities that are set aside for the consumption of illicit drugs. As at 2006, there were 65 supervised injecting centres in operation world-wide, based in Germany, Spain, Switzerland, Norway, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Canada and Australia.

Unlike illegal shooting galleries, such as those that operated in Sydney prior to the establishment of the MSIC, supervised injecting centres are sanctioned and provide professional health and welfare services to drug users. As such, these centres have been established as a pragmatic harm minimisation strategy, with the intention of reducing the health and public order problems associated with illegal injection drug use. The centres enable drug users to consume pre-obtained drugs in a stress-free atmosphere and under hygienic and low risk conditions.

Thus, the intent of supervised injecting centres is to try to safeguard the health and safety of both patrons and the wider community. The centres aim to reduce public nuisance (such as discarded injecting equipment, public injecting and intoxication and visible drug dealing), opioid-related overdoses (fatal and non-fatal), blood-borne virus transmission (such as HIV/AIDs and hepatitis C), and, to ensure that drug users remain engaged with the health and welfare system, thereby reducing the likelihood of their contracting and spreading blood-borne diseases.

A series of evaluations of the MSIC have been conducted since the centre was first opened. Generally speaking, the evaluation findings have been positive, and broadly comparable with evaluation results of other similar supervised injecting drug facilities, mostly located in European cities. Among other things, the MSIC has treated a substantial number of overdoses which may otherwise have occurred in public places and without medical support, thereby increasing the risks to drug users and others. There has also been a significant decrease in the number of needle syringes collected in the King’s Cross area since the MSIC commenced operations. Community surveys of local residents and businesses indicate that there has been an increase in support for the MSIC over the period in which it has been operating.

(Image sourced from:

Thank you for your comment. If it does not require moderation, it will appear shortly.
Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Add | Email Print


Flagpost is a blog on current issues of interest to members of the Australian Parliament

Parliamentary Library Logo showing Information Analysis & Advice




refugees asylum immigration Australian foreign policy Parliament climate change elections women social security Indigenous Australians Australian Bureau of Statistics Employment Sport illicit drugs people trafficking taxation Medicare welfare reform Australian Defence Force higher education welfare policy United Nations Asia income management Middle East criminal law disability Australian Sports Anti-Doping Agency World Anti-Doping Agency United States federal budget health financing gambling school education forced labour aid statistics Australian Electoral Commission WADA emissions trading Australia in the Asian Century steroids detention Private health insurance OECD ASADA labour force transport Law Enforcement Australian Federal Police Industrial Relations people smuggling dental health National Disability Insurance Scheme Australian Crime Commission slavery Senate election results Papua New Guinea Australian Public Service International Women's Day corruption Afghanistan Fair Work Act child protection debt federal election 2013 parliamentary procedure poker machines ALP New Zealand Newstart Parenting Payment 43rd Parliament political parties Census constitution High Court skilled migration voting Federal Court terrorist groups Higher Education Loan Program HECS youth paid parental leave Aviation environment foreign debt gross debt net debt defence capability customs doping health crime health risks multiculturalism aged care Gonski Review of Funding for Schooling sex slavery sea farers Special Rapporteur leadership United Kingdom UK Parliament Electoral reform politics banking firearms public policy violence against women domestic violence mental health China ADRV terrorism social media pensions welfare ASIO intelligence community Australian Security Intelligence Organisation governance public service reform Carbon Pricing Mechanism carbon tax mining military history employer employee fishing by-election European Union same sex relationships international relations coal seam gas family assistance planning United Nations Security Council Australian economy food vocational education and training Drugs Indonesia children codes of conduct terrorist financing money laundering Productivity asylum seekers early childhood education Canada Population Financial sector national security fuel disability employment Tasmania integrity science research and development Australian Secret Intelligence Service sexual abuse federal state relations World Trade Organization Australia accountability housing affordability bulk billing water renewable energy children's health health policy Governor-General US economy export liquefied natural gas foreign bribery question time speaker superannuation expertise Senators and Members climate Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry food labelling Pacific Islands reserved seats new psychoactive substances synthetic drugs UNODC carbon markets health reform Indigenous constitutional recognition of local government local government consumer laws PISA royal commission US politics language education baby bonus Leaders of the Opposition Parliamentary remuneration health system Australia Greens servitude Trafficking Protocol energy forced marriage rural and regional Northern Territory Emergency Response ministries social citizenship human rights citizenship Defence High Court; Indigenous; Indigenous Australians; Native Title ACT Indigenous education Norfolk Island External Territories emissions reduction fund; climate change child care funding refugees immigration asylum procurement Indigenous health e-voting internet voting nsw state elections 44th Parliament 2015 ABS Age Pension Death penalty capital punishment execution Bali nine Bali bombings Trade EU China soft power education Fiji India Disability Support Pension Antarctica Diplomacy by-elections state and territories workers Bills anti-corruption fraud bribery transparency corporate ownership whistleblower G20 economic reform innovation standards NATO Members of Parliament Scottish referendum Middle East; national security; terrorism social services Criminal Code Amendment (Misrepresentation of Age to a Minor) Bill 2013 online grooming sexual assault of minors ACT Assembly public health smoking plain packaging tobacco cigarettes Asia; Japan; international relations Work Health and Safety Migration; asylum seekers; regional processing China; United States; international relations fiscal policy Racial Discrimination Act; social policy; human rights; indigenous Australians Foreign policy Southeast Asia Israel Palestine regional unemployment asylum refugees immigration political finance donations foreign aid Economics efficiency human rights; Racial Discrimination Act employment law bullying Animal law; food copyright Australian Law Reform Commission industry peace keeping contracts workplace policies trade unions same-sex marriage disorderly conduct retirement Parliament House standing orders public housing prime ministers election timetable sitting days First speech defence budget submarines Somalia GDP forestry world heritage political engagement leave loading Trade; tariffs; safeguards; Anti-dumping public interest disclosure whistleblowing Productivity Commission regulation limitation period universities Ireland cancer gene patents genetic testing suspension of standing and sessional orders animal health live exports welfare systems infant mortality middle class welfare honorary citizen railways disciplinary tribunals standard of proof World Health Organisation arts international students skilled graduate visas temporary employment visas apologies roads Italy national heritage NHMRC nutrition anti-dumping Constitutional reform referendum Rent Assistance competition policy pharmaceutical benefits scheme obesity evidence law sacrament of confession US presidential election international days DFAT UN General Assembly deregulation Regulation Impact Statements administrative law small business Breaker Morant homelessness regional engagement social determinants of health abortion Youth Allowance Members suspension citizen engagement policymaking federal election 2010 workplace health and safety Trafficking in Persons Report marine reserves hearing TAFE Victoria astronomy resources sector YMCA youth parliament alcohol Korea rebate Australian Greens presidential nomination Racial Discrimination Act entitlements political parties preselection solar hot water Financial Action Taskforce Horn of Africa peacekeeping piracy Great Barrier Reef Stronger futures political financing Hung Parliament political education social inclusion Social Inclusion Board maritime early childhood National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education and Care Murray-Darling Basin Iran sanctions Norway hospitals

Show all
Show less
Back to top