Medically Supervised Injecting Centre in Kings Cross

It’s been a while since a wrote my last post; it feels as if I’ve been really busy and that a lot has been happening in my personal life, at work and otherwise. In the other category, something that has occupied part of my time is the current media interest in the Medically Supervised Injecting Centre (MSIC) in Kings Cross. I’ll discuss this in a moment.

Firstly, on the personal front, I bought a suit today – a very nice one that was fortuitously in the end-of-season sales. I need a suit for events, work and conferences, but have been without for a while. I have always liked Ted Baker suits, especially the ones with faint stripes of various colours, but unfortunately a dominant preconception is that you won’t be taken seriously wearing such a suit, and so I bought a black suit with faint blue stripes. I wanted to buy a suit with stripes! Perhaps I’ll buy a more colourful one in time.

Also, today I started to write my talk for the International Congress of Mathematicians in Madrid in August. I know I’m a procrastinator – which is why I have to force myself to start it now, otherwise I will be making the slides up when in Madrid – I’m not going to end up doing this! It’s only a 20 minute talk, which means you have to get across just your key points, and also perhaps lend a smell or taste of the core of the work. So writing the talk is one of my key tasks in the next two weeks.

Work has been busy – we essentially completed one smal/medium sized project (which of course involved a lot of work) and before going overseas we have to essentially complete a significant part of a really important project, which can be likened to an enormous complicated multidimensional jigsaw, which has to all fit together nicely. The next fortnight will be intense.

On the local front, Sydneysiders will know of the recent  media reports on the Kings Cross Medically Supervised Injecting Centre, which seems to have become again the target of media interest due to its recent five year operating anniversary, the upcoming potential renewal of its license under state legislation (apparently in about 18 months or so), a continuing campaign by a minority of local business operators/owners to either shut it down or move it to St Vincents hospital in Darlinghurst, a now-defunct campaign by a new residents association, the CERA (City-edge residents association) which appears to be run by people associated with some local businesses, to shut it down or move it to St Vincents, and the state Liberal opposition leader’s pledge to shut it down if he becomes Premier of NSW in the March 2007 state election. My understanding is that the Health Minister can shut it down effectively whenever they want to.

The appalling thing is that the Daily Telegraph has been publishing absolutely garbage stories on the MSIC. For example, last Thursday the ‘Tele carried a picture of syringes apparently in public out the back of the injecting centre, and the implication of the story was that someone had somehow got hold of these syringes (which the MSIC staff had disposed of in the correct way) and that the public could be at risk from them. Apparently the MSIC was a honeypot for users.

Now the Kings Cross police have stated on at least one occasion that the MSIC is NOT a honeypot for users. But let’s leave this to the side for the moment. Apparently the syringes had not been used. Also, they were not the brand of syringe provided by the MSIC, and I have been told that that brand of syringe isn’t even made available in the area. So let’s get this straight. A bunch of unused syringes that are not used in the MSIC and are in all likelihood were not obtained in the local area are found out the back of the MSIC. What’s going on here?

A number of local businesses say it’s not unusual for needles to be in public in that area. This might be true, and if it is it is something to look at and deal with, especially if they pose a potential problem to the public and to people wanting to find a needle.

What’s going on here?

The next day (Friday), we were treated to further rubbishy stories – one in which people were “upset” at claims that the needles must have been dumped there – there were no stories about how strange it was the needles had been there.

This story just smells as if was a set-up by someone who wants the MSIC to shut or to move elsewhere. Would I put money on it? No, but I would put money on someone who wants the MSIC to shut or to move having been involved in the bag of unused needles being out the back of the MSIC.

On a positive note, the local branch of the ALP has reaffirmed its support for the MSIC, the local independent state MP is supportive of it, and the local liberal candidate for the state election has indicated to me via e-mail that he has an open mind on it, and that, if the Liberals won the state election and he won his seat, he would lobby on behalf of it if he thought that was the right thing to do.

8 Responses to Medically Supervised Injecting Centre in Kings Cross

  1. David says:

    Interesting post Sacha. I live around the corner from the MSIC and walk past it every day and I think the claims from some local businesses are overblown.

    I’m not sure I think much of the response from the local Liberal candidate that “he has an open mind on it, and that, if the Liberals won the state election and he won his seat, he would lobby on behalf of it if he thought that was the right thing to do”. It’s a fairly important issue locally and he should have a position. Does he respond to letters from its opponents saying that if the Liberals won the state election and he won his seat, he would lobby against it if he thought that was the right thing to do?

  2. Sacha says:

    Don’t know, David – I just thought I’d mention what he wrote to me and that it was different to what Peter Debnam has said… I think that the MSIC is a very important local issue – any local political aspirant has to be very aware of this.

    On this note, I’d be interested to hear what Malcolm Turnbull’s attitude to the MSIC is if the federal electoral boundaries change so that Wentworth takes in Kings Cross, as is proposed. Thankfully Howard hasn’t acted to shut it down, which he might conceivably have the power to do, but the feds lack of support is yet another negative against them.

  3. The truth is out there says:

    It beggars belief that anyone believes the lies put out by the MSIC. They have said that a minority of businesses support its location. Even the simplest logic tells you that with over 60 shops closed and most of the rest struggling that they oppose its location.

    A simple test as I have done is walk down the street and ask the shop owners. Its an overwhelming 100% opposition.

    Then again if heroin overdoses have collapsed throughout NSW as announced by Carr and Iemma then why is the Cross facility booming.

    In the NSW parliament recently the MSIC staff seemed more concerned about their very high paying salaries than the welfare of the junkies.

    But if anything was meant to blow you away about the injecting centre-the programme on A Current Affair said it all. It showed drug dealing inside and outside the facility with allegations that the MSIC staff were involved. Every member of parliament should be given a tape showing the truth about this disgraceful facility.

    It has primarily been set up to help the drug dealers have a steady income of addicted clients.

  4. Sacha says:

    What rubbish you write.

    You believe stories on A Current Affair? They have the well-researched background and believability of stories that appear in The Daily Telegraph. If illegal things have been happening inside the MSIC, they should be properly investigated.

    Your “simplest logic” is very poor. Do better and then people might listen to you.

    You seem to ascribe an enormous power to the MSIC to affect business in Kings Cross. Tell me, what other forces affect businesses?

  5. The truth is out there says:

    I not only believe A Current Affair but so did Premier Iemma when he was shown the video for his comments.

    It has caused acute problems to the MSIC as a lot of what was not shown is in the hands of the police.

    The Telegraph story was about needles in a bin outside the MSIC. I do not believe that they belonged to the MSIC as they would use proper disposal methods. The needles outside has been a long term problem as the customers of the New York Cafe regularly complain to Linda Meering at the Council offices about it. I have no idea where they come from.

    She now has someone picking up disgarded needles in Kellet St every day. Clearly from people who do not wish to use the MSIC.

    The residents in Kellett St have a major problem with drug dealing and disgarded needles. I have 4 friends who live in the street and they are besides themselves with the problems they are confronted on a daily basis.

    What a pitty that there is no one strong enough and tough enough to finally clean up the area and bring it back to the vibrant area it was not so long ago.

    You may wish to rubbish me but sadly the problem is all about polital neglect.

  6. Sacha says:

    I agree that it would be nice if there wasn’t a drug problem in Kings Cross. I don’t want there to be a drug problem anywhere. So, how does a society deal with it? I don’t want the “drug problem” to be pushed out from Kings Cross to some other area – that’s simply nimby stuff.

    I don’t like it when people hide behind uninformative titles such as “the truth is out there”. You should give at least your first name or some nickname.

  7. Vanderpool says:

    Sacha, it seems like your well researched opinions and thoughtful responces in this thread rarely get beyond personal insults to ‘The truth is out there’. Try to do better.

  8. Sacha says:

    Vanderpool, I’m interested in evidence-based policies. If people (whether they have written here or otherwise) continually put forward ideas that evidence and analysis contradict, and do so in bad faith, then their motives can be questioned and I may do this.

    Whoever “the truth is out is” is, while they appear to have something to contribute, it is not at all clear that their contribution is disinterested and focussed on something that balances all the interests involved. This is not to say they they aren’t, but it isn’t clear to me that they are. My mind can be changed of course!

    If the evidence shows that the MSIC is, overall, quite a negative thing and should be moved or shut down and I was convinced of this, then I would support that happening.

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