Vol 14 Edition 2

In Brief

Funding to widen access to naloxone

In February 2017, Victorian Minister for Mental Health the Hon Martin Foley MP announced initiatives to improve access naloxone and strengthen support for overdose survivors.

The Victorian Government allocated $1.3 million to subsidise the cost of naloxone to drug users or families struggling to afford it and fund an outreach service to follow up drug users who have survived an overdose.

People who have survived an overdose are at higher risk of having another overdose, so the outreach service is potentially life-saving.

The outreach service will run in Victoria’s overdose “hotspots” – Yarra, Melbourne, Port Phillip, Geelong, Dandenong and Brimbank/Maribyrnong.

Dr Ingrid van Beek AM retires

In April this year, Dr Ingrid van Beek AM retired after spending three decades working at the coalface of the heroin, HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C crises. Her farewell event was attended by a wide range of people – from NSP workers to former premiers – recognising the impact her career and work had across many spheres.

Dr van Beek’s contribution to supporting ‘at risk’ young people, sex workers and people who inject drugs will have a lasting impact in Australia and internationally.

Dr van Beek started as a doctor at the Kirketon Road Centre in Sydney’s King’s Cross in 1987, offering sexual health screenings, sex worker “check-ups”, as well as assessment and treatment of sexually transmitted infections – a role she describes as her “first real job”. She went on to become Director in 1989, and was also the founding Medical Director of Australia’s first Medically Supervised Injecting Centre from 2000 until 2008.

Dr van Beek was awarded a Doctor in Medicine (MD) in 2010 in recognition of her body of published scholarly work in the international field of harm reduction. Her contribution to improving the health of socially marginalised populations was recognised in 2010 when she was made a Member of the Order of Australia.

Dr van Beek’s approach is best captured in the following statement, “harm reduction is a humane and compassionate approach that recognises the importance of extending dignity and respect to people regardless of their social circumstances.”

We acknowledge and thank Dr van Beek for her contribution and wish her the best in her retirement.

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