Webinar #4 – Greg Denham

Please press here for the YouTube link for the webinar.

This month, March 2017, we were lucky enough to have Greg Denham, Executive Officer of the Yarra Drug and Health Forum, present in a student webinar recorded and uploaded for public access.

The Yarra Drug and Health Forum strongly advocates for the implementation of a Medically Supervised Injecting Centre (MSIC) in Melbourne and is one of the first grass-roots initiatives to recommend it as a viable policy option towards addressing the open-air drug market in North Richmond.

The unexpected political backlash met by the Yarra Drug and Health forum in lobbying for a harm reduction response is discussed in the webinar, particularly the importance of timing in knowing when to push and when not to, due to the popularity of law enforcement.

Greg suggests that the CBD and Footscray heroin markets have in time shifted more towards North Richmond much to the growing gentrification of Melbourne. He argues that now more than ever is there an immediate need to properly act on the matter.

He refers to Marianne Jauncey, the Director of the MSIC in Sydney, who states there are similarities between Kings Cross and Victoria St in spurring on further street-based drug use. This includes, factors such as increased access on public transport, laneways and commission housing blocks, which can make for a thriving underground heroin market.

Solutions to the matter of unpopular political change and advocating for such were also involved, including, bringing the issue up in one-on-one conversations and presenting some of the evidence. The formation of communities such as trader associations, getting behind the campaign as well as resident groups was also thought to help build support.

For more information about the current move to establish a MSIC in North Richmond, please visit the Australian Sex Party’s website as well as the Australian Greens advocacy page. There is also a recent Inquiry to a MSIC set up in Victoria, inviting public submissions and feedback from citizens.

If you are interested in knowing more about the work of Greg and the Yarra Drug and Health forum also visit their website.

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