Needle program a recipe for trouble in Braybrook

Photo: Joe Mastroianni

A Braybrook needle distribution and collection service is one of the most in-demand in the state.

But as regular users call for a site to be set up in Sunshine, one Braybrook father has questioned whether a community hub is the best place for a needle program.

Jason Demopoulos and son Jack. Photo: Joe Mastroianni
Jason Demopoulos and son Jack. Photo: Joe Mastroianni

Chief executive of cohealth Lyn Morgain said the service at Braybrook Community Hub was set up in 2007 in response to “high levels of drug use and discarded syringes in the local area”.

She said the centre remains “extremely busy” and a recent cohealth survey found Sunshine and St Albans were preferred locales for more such services.

“Our surveys show that the majority of clients accessing the service live and work in the local community,” she said.

Sunshine does not have a needle and syringe program site despite it being Brimbank’s number one hot spot for discarded syringes.

While the push for a new site continues, Jason Demopoulos said having cohealth run a needle and syringe program at the Braybrook hub is a recipe for trouble, as it promotes drug use in the vicinity and exposes children to danger from needles not disposed of properly.

Mr Demopoulos said he has witnessed people injecting drugs in the car park, and has to scan for needles and syringes any time his child wants to play in the vicinity.

“The [Maribyrnong] council has someone doing a roving patrol, and cohealth do too, but there are still often used needles around.”

Mr Demopoulos said he understands the need for the program in Braybrook, but questions whether its location is the right one.

“I don’t see the need for it to be attached to a community centre where you have children and families coming and going all day.”

Ms Morgain defended the program, saying it actually helps reduce the number of improperly discarded syringes.

The number of inappropriately discarded syringes found in cohealth sweeps dropped by 15 per cent in the first six months of this year, which represents fewer than one in 200 of the number dispensed from the service, it says.

Syringe collection: 9688 0200 (24 hours).


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