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9news, May 17, 2011

Vic council considers injecting rooms

A Melbourne inner city council is trying to garner support for a safe heroin injecting room in an attempt to get drug dealers and addicts off their streets.

Yarra Council mayor Alison Clarke says councillors will consider erecting CCTV cameras in the hot spot along Victoria St, Richmond or going for the harder option - a supervised injecting room.

"I understand the traders' frustration having people dealing in front of their shops," Ms Clarke said.

But the state government, police and local traders are against the idea of allowing drug users to shoot up in safety in the area.

Premier Ted Baillieu says his government won't sanction the establishment of an injection room along the lines of the Sydney facility that has operated in Kings Cross for 10 years.

"I am not considering injection rooms nor is (Police Minister) Peter Ryan, nor is the coalition," Mr Baillieu told reporters.

"We've been firm about that for a long time and nothing has changed in that regard."

Police Chief Commissioner Simon Overland also said he opposed injecting rooms as the solution to get addicts off the streets.

He said it was a matter for the government to work out.

He told radio station MTR that police were well aware of the problem in Richmond.

"It's a problem for a lot of the good people living in those areas and that's of concern," he said.

"There are a lot of undesirable types who move through those areas and do cause problems so we police it pretty strongly, but its a difficult area to police and its been a long-standing problem."

He preferred the idea of the cameras to scare off drug dealers, saying there was "a great place for CCTV".
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