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Greens push for children and pregnant women to be allowed to use safe injecting room

The Victorian Greens are pushing for restrictions on who can use the North Richmond safe injecting room to be removed.

Under their proposal, teenagers, pregnant women, and those whose bail terms stipulate that they must not use drugs, would be allowed to use the facility.

The push comes after the tragic death of a 15-year-old boy in his home near the injecting room at the weekend.

The boy was reportedly using heroin in the days before his death.

Greens health spokesperson and Member for Brunswick, Dr Tim Read, said the current rules mean some people are excluded from receiving life-saving treatment.

“The important thing is if someone’s got heroin, and they’re going to inject it, then they’re less likely to die if they do it next to a nurse who has got some resuscitation equipment,” he said.

“The likelihood of 10 and 12-year-olds getting heroin is vanishingly rare, but, honestly, if they’ve got heroin and a needle I wouldn’t want them kept out.”

Dr Read said “repulsion” for drug users is clouding judgement over the injecting room.

“Should we let that determine public health policy and effectively put barriers as to who has access to resuscitation and who doesn’t?,” he said.

“Should we be putting barriers in front of health workers, nurses and doctors, as to who you can treat and who you can’t treat?

“I just want to put this in perspective because I feel that there’s a bit of an anti-injecting room backlash happening.”

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