Heroin Injection Center Wins Approval in Sydney 8/22/00

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Eighteen months after the New South Wales Drug Summit recommended a package of reforms to drug laws, including trial of a medically supervised heroin injecting room, the Sydney Morning Herald has reported that the Uniting Church has received a license to operate Australia's first legal heroin injection room in Sydney's Kings Cross section.

Sydney Police Commissioner Peter Ryan, and the director-general of health, Mick Reid, issued the license for a former pinball parlor this week.

The Uniting Church's Rev. Harry Herbert told the Morning Herald: "We are very pleased to get the license, at last. This means we can start the eight to ten week building renovation works and start recruiting staff and so open the doors before the end of the year if all goes well."

The injection room will operate with two previously undisclosed restrictions. One bans pregnant women from using the facility, and the other bars providing needles to anyone other than those planning to use the center.

Dr. Alex Wodak, head of St Vincent's Hospital drug and alcohol services, is unhappy with the latter provision.

"The ban on needle exchange is unfortunate because there may be people who come into the place and decide they are not going to use the facility as an injecting room but are going to use some other aspects of it such as counseling and that should be encouraged," he told the Morning Herald.

Wodak also noted that the last-minute restrictions highlighted the political pressures brought by opponents and that they "distort the trial and risks diminishing the benefits of the facility."

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Issue #150, 8/22/00 Los Angeles Shadow Convention Energizes Reformers for November and Beyond | Chronic Pain Doctor and Pharmacy Under Assault in California Case | Interview with Chris Conrad | Apprendi Sentencing Ruling Begins to Bite | Heroin Injection Center Wins Approval in Sydney | Appeals Court Denies Government's Request for Emergency Order Halting Oakland CBC from Distributing Marijuana | RESOURCES: Drug War Facts Updated, TomPaine.com Drug War Feature This Week, Alternet, Spanish Language Documents, More | Benefit Screening for Jack Herer | Errata | Alerts: Colombia, Mandatory Minimums, California, New York | HEA Campaign | Event Calendar | Job Listings (NYC): Streetwork Project | Editorial: No Fringe Group
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