Support the Introduction of a Prison Based Needle Exchange in the ACT

Support the introduction of a prison based needle exchange in the ACT (at the Alexander Maconochie Centre)

The issues:

  • Of ACT prisoners tested to March 2010, 65% had hep C. This compares with 1% – 2% in the broader Australian population.

  • A study released last year found that one in three people injecting drugs in prison contracted hepatitis C while in prison. 
  • The ACT Chief Minister and Health Minister Katy Gallagher said: “It’s politically easy to kill this one off and do what every other jurisdiction in Australia has done … (but) I’m not prepared to put it to rest.” (Canberra Times 29.7.11)
  • “If (the prison needle exchange) can stop just one person getting hepatitis C, it will have done its job.”  (Robyn Davis, Executive Officer of the ACT Hepatitis Resource Centre, Northside Chronicle, 2.8.11)

What’s being done:

  • The ACT Government recently commissioned a report, Balancing access and safety, to research possible models for prison-based needle exchange programs.
  • The ACT Government is now seeking public input on the report.
  • There are a wide range of people and organisations who will be writing their submissions from both pro and con sides of the debate. We want to ensure the ‘pro’s’ get heard.

What you can do:

  • You can write a submission in support of this vital public health measure.
  • Submissions from individuals and organisations are all welcome – short submissions, long submissions  – a short letter in support – it doesn’t matter.
  • Submissions are due by Thursday 8 September 2011

Submissions and feedback can be directed to:

Alcohol and Other Drug Policy Unit
Policy and Governmental Relations
GPO Box 825
Canberra ACT 2601

These documents might help with some ideas for your submission: