Mum’s plea for safe drug injecting room in Melbourne’s CBD

Mum’s plea for safe drug injecting room in Melbourne’s CBD

The mother of a Melbourne man who died from a heroin overdose in a CBD laneway has said another safe injecting room is the only way to prevent similar tragedies.

Katrina Korver’s 38-year-old son, Danial, was found by passers-by on Rainbow Alley in June last year after a battle with addiction.

Ms Korver said her son had previously been a patron of the safe injecting room in North Richmond and had used the Rainbow Alley on his way home for “little bit of privacy to shoot up”.

“He shouldn’t have died that day; he had used the Richmond facility regularly and if there had been a medically supervised drug injecting room here in Melbourne, he would have used it,” she said.

“As his mother, I’m committed to ensuring this doesn’t happen to other families; that a medically supervised drug injecting room is made available in the CBD where there is a lot of heroin available.”

Her plea comes as 80 Victorian chief executives and community leaders signed an open letter to the government and public to support the opening of a safe injecting room in the CBD.

Ms Korver went on to say her family’s heartache was compounded by the fact Danial’s life may have been saved if he had access to a safe injecting room on the day he died.

“Danial had every reason to live; he had accommodation, he had a son and he had a trade,” she said.

“As parents, we try to protect our children from drug taking; we cant protect them after they’ve started down that journey.

“Danial didn’t deserve to die; he had a lot to live for. And we know that medically supervised drug injecting rooms work.”

The Korver family has since placed a plaque and photo of Danial near the spot where he overdosed in order to discourage people from using drugs in the alleyway.

Major Brendan Nottle from the Salvation Army’s Melbourne 614 Project said the CBD’s drug issue was one he’s been heavily impacted by.

“There’s one overdose death every month in the city,” he said.

“The reality is, these numbers are not just statistics, but nine of those people who have overdosed in recent times are friends of mine.

“They are people I became very closely associated with and have had a long connection with. I sat with a young man who I met when he was nine years of age and at the age of 28, I held his hand as he passed away in intensive care because of a drug overdose.

“These people are not just a statistic, these people are not just another piece of data – they are someone’s brother, someone’s sister, someone’s daughter, someone’s son … someone’s friend.

“The reality is, these overdoses are completely unnecessary and would not happen if we put the adequate resources around them to rebuild their lives.”

Despite a prolonged planning process, the issue of an appropriate site for an injecting room in the city remains unclear.

Two previous proposals by the state government, near Flinders Street Station and Queen Victoria Market respectively, were slapped down by nearby residents and business owners.

A delayed report by former police commissioner Ken Lay into the need for a second injecting room is due at the middle of the year.

A City of Melbourne spokeswoman said where and when any potential injecting room is placed “must be carefully considered”.

“In August 2022, City of Melbourne councillors endorsed Council’s continued support for a medically supervised injecting service in the City of Melbourne – and sought a commitment from the State government to work with Council on an ideal location,” she said.

Originally published as Mum’s plea for safe drug injecting room in CBD

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