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Jeff Kennett backs calls for safe injecting room in Melbourne, Richmond trader says drug use is a massive problem

Former Premier and mental health advocate Jeff Kennett has expressed his support for the latest push for a safe injecting room in Melbourne.

Sex Party leader Fiona Patten wants an 18-month trial of a legal injecting room in North Richmond, but mental health minister Martin Foley says there are no plans for such a room.

Click PLAY below to see the state of one Richmond alleyway

A number of community leaders and medical experts are backing the introduction of a safe injecting room.

Mr Kennett said the government should listen.

‘We need to recognise in Victoria now that we have a responsibility to do all we can to save lives,’ he told 3AW Breakfast.

‘I’ve been and visited the facility in Sydney and it was perhaps Bob Carr’s finest moment as (NSW) Premier’s when he went against all opposition to establish this facility in Kings Cross.

‘It’s not only resulted in no deaths in the safe injecting facility, but it has cleaned up trade in the streets of Kings Cross.

‘The traders now support it very strongly.

‘You look at Richmond – we’ve had a number of deaths there over the last year.’

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Herschel Landes has been a trader on Bridge Road for more than 30 years.

He told Neil Mitchell drug use was a ‘massive’ problem.

‘There’s no question that drugs are part of our community and it’s certainly not good enough to have people injecting in the streets,’ he said on 3AW Mornings.

‘I think the exchange gives out something like 70,000 needles a month ? that’s a very big number.

‘It’s a massive problem.

‘Certainly the policy of doing nothing isn’t working.’

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