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Reducing Harmful Drug Use Through Peer-Led Networks

Victorians at risk of drug overdose will receive extra support under a new initiative commencing in January 2017.

Communities across Melbourne and Geelong will be targeted by peer workers in an effort to reduce drug related harm.

Six agencies will coordinate the initiative to improve access to clean injecting equipment, information and support for those who are disadvantaged and at risk of drug overdose.

Peer workers are able to draw on their local knowledge and experience of drug use to identify and support those at risk of overdosing, including those who may not utilise mainstream supports.

Youth Projects, Inner South Community Health in Port Phillip and North Richmond Community Health in Yarra will carry our targeted support through inner Melbourne.

Cohealth, Monash Health and Barwon Health will focus on Maribyrnong, Brimbank, Dandenong and Geelong.

Harm Reduction Victoria and the Association of Participating Service Users will also receive funding to help coordinate the peer-led networks initiative, providing workforce support and training as well as evaluation.

The Andrews Labor Government is supporting the Penington Institute to research emerging models being developed both locally and internationally to reduce fatal overdoses and other harms resulting from drug use, with a particular focus on the use of peer workers.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Mental Health Martin Foley

“More people die from overdose than the road toll – but even one death is one too many.”

“We’ll continue to work to reduce the harm associated with alcohol and drug use. This trial forms an important part of our response to reduce the number of fatal overdoses.”

“Peer workers are an important part of Victoria’s harm reduction response, engaging those who might otherwise be disconnected from our mainstream health services.”