Overall, there are three dominant discourses centering on illicit drug use; prohibition, legalization, and harm minimization. The implementation of safe injection rooms within Australian cities is one…
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Though an intensely contested term, harm minimization recognizes that while illicit drug use can never be fully eradicated, measures can be implemented to minimize its negative consequences. The core aim of this approach is to enhance the health and socio-economic results for both the society and the individual via a balanced application of three main strategies; supply reduction, harm reduction, and demand reduction.
In Australia, the implementation of harm minimization strategies is an intricate, yet controversial issue. While there is an extensive agreement on the necessity to adopt an integrated approach to the drug menace in Australia, there are opposing views concerning the effectiveness of the drug policies. As a consequence, protagonists back fresh “innovative” drug strategies (considered radical by antagonists) such as supervised injecting facilities (Green2002, p.28).
The divergence of view has led to the polarization of the debate centering on such issues. The supervised injecting facilities debate reached fever pitch between 1999 and 2001 when Australia Capital Territory, Victoria, and New South Wales attempted to launch such facilities. The debate was characterized by an enhanced level of conflict between groups with divergent moral and political beliefs regarding drug use. The use of illicit drugs within Australian society has become prevalent over the years. A National Drug Household Survey (1998) revealed that about 46.4% of the Australians (aged 14 years and above) have used a prohibited drug once in their life, with an approximate 22.8% reporting to have used a banned drug within the prior 12 months.
Safe injecting rooms (also referred to as safe injecting facilities) represent legally endorsed, indoor facilities, where injecting drug use transpires under the direction of medically trained personnel, and in safe and hygienic state with access to a wide range of sterilized injecting equipment (Green2002, p.29). The ...
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