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MP Fiona Patten calls for extension to injection room opening hours

Reason Party leader Fiona Patten has admitted Richmond’s safe injecting facility isn’t working as intended.

Despite seeing a seven per cent drop in public overdoses in the six months following its opening, she told Neil Mitchell there’s only been a “modest” improvement in the area.

Ms Patten laid the blame squarely at local councils, who she says have stopped patrolling previously monitored areas around the Lennox Street facility.

“It’s not working as well as everybody hoped it would,” she said.

“Councils have to lift their game, areas before the centre that were regularly looked after are (now) not being checked.

“The police have probably pulled back a bit too far considering some of the drug busts that have occurred in the last few days.”

She said Melbourne should follow footsteps of other cities in making the North Richmond injecting facility more accessible for more hours.

“It should certainly be open until nine or 10 o’clock at night,” she told Neil Mitchell.

“We’re seeing that’s where the most public drug use is occurring in North Richmond and it’s when most people are out and about.”

Neil said supporters of the facility would’ve been hoping for a greater reduction in overdoses.

But admitted Ms Patten’s calls to clean up the streets and tighten policing weren’t a bad thing.

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