Greens recommend needle and syringe program be run out of AMC Health Centre

Amanda Bresnan, ACT Greens spokesperson for Health and Corrections, has recommended that a needle and syringe program be run out of the prison’s Health Centre.

Ms Bresnan will today table in the ACT Legislative Assembly a summary of her consultations on the proposed needle and syringe program.

“Consensus is building that ACT’s prisoners need access to a needle and syringe program. The vast majority of experts and interest groups support an NSP because it’s the best chance we have against stopping the spread of hepatitis C and other blood borne viruses amongst prisoners and the wider community,” Ms Bresnan said today.

“The biggest question is not whether we implement a needle and syringe program but rather how, and overcoming the concerns expressed by some of the corrections officers. It’s time to move forward on this issue and propose positive solutions.“I have put out a discussion paper and received submissions from national and local organisations. I have also drawn on international experiences via meetings with the Portuguese Government, where a program has already been trialled. The support for a needle and syringe program is strong. It’s an evidence based model for reducing harm, as well as drug use.

“The responses we received and the international experience suggest that the most appropriate method of introducing a needle and syringe program is through the AMC health centre with the involvement of a non-government organisation. This ensures that the program is coordinated with health and rehabilitation services.”

“This is a system that can be trusted by both corrections staff and prisoners, while reducing the harm caused by blood borne viruses,” Ms Bresnan said.

A copy of the summary paper which contains the recommendations is available online here.