The Sydney Medically Supervised Injecting Centre (MSIC) recognises that drug addiction is a chronic, relapsing condition. MSIC does not support or promote drug use; it simply acknowledges that it is a fact of life. We are a compassionate and pragmatic harm reduction service.
The MSIC supervises episodes of drug injecting that would otherwise happen elsewhere - often in public, and under inherently more dangerous conditions. Instead drug injection occurs in a health service under the supervision of registered nurses and counsellors/health education officers. There is immediate access to emergency medical care in the event of an overdose or adverse event. The professional staff are able to engage with users and facilitate effective referral to a variety of services, including specialist addiction treatment.
MSIC does not supply any drugs – the clients come to MSIC with pre-purchased drugs. MSIC does not support drug dealing – selling, buying or sharing drugs at MSIC is prohibited. Anyone engaging in any of these activities is removed from the premises. MSIC is responsible to both the NSW Department of Health and the New South Wales Police Force. The local police support the MSIC, and MSIC supports police efforts to reduce drug supply in Kings Cross.
MSIC’s funding comes from the Confiscated Proceeds of Illicit Activities Account, which is managed by the New South Wales Treasury.
MSIC was an initiative of the 1999 New South Wales Drug Summit and is administered by UnitingCare, a Christian non-government organisation that provides a large number of health services in New South Wales. After operating for nine and a half years on a trial basis, on the 27th October 2010 the NSW Parliament passed legislation allowing for the continued operation of the MSIC. This legislation came into force on the 1st November 2010.
A just, fair and compassionate society in which all people are treated with dignity and respect, enabled to live fulfilling lives, and have the opportunity to create and share in the community.
The service works to:
- Optimise health by saving lives and reducing injury from drug use.
- Effectively intervene in the event of drug overdose.
- Provide access to health and social welfare services for a marginalised and difficult to reach population.
- Uphold and promote the dignity of all people who use the service and promote awareness and understanding in the community.
- Contribute to the amenity of the local community, for example by reducing injecting drug use and syringe disposal in public locations.
- Contribute to the body of public health knowledge around injecting drug use.
- Sydney MSIC has supervised more than 930 000 injections and managed 5,925 overdoses without a single fatality.
- There have been ZERO fatalities onsite since MSIC opened
- A total of 15,054 people have registered to use the service.
- About 70% of the people registered had never accessed any local health service before.
- More than 11,678 referrals have been made, connecting people to health and social welfare services.
- Each year more than 2,000 individualised nursing and support services are provided onsite.
- Number of ambulance call-outs to Kings Cross reduced by 80% after MSIC opened.
- 70% of local businesses and 78% of local residents support MSIC.
- MSIC had no impact on crime in the Kings Cross area.
- Independently evaluated as cost-effective.
- The number of publicly discarded needles and syringes approximately halved in Kings Cross after MSIC opened.
MSIC employs professional staff – both Registered Nurses and Health Education Officers. There are a minimum of three nurses and three Health Education Officers available at any one time. A full time Referral Co-ordinator is responsible for facilitating and coordinating referrals to a range of medical and social welfare services, including addiction treatment facilities.