Personal Experiences

 Personally as a resident at the other end of Richmond, the effect the MSIR and that general area has on me as a resident is simply avoid at all costs. All the award winning Aldi wine in the world couldn’t convince me to go to that centre.
I often walk along Vic street for food but don’t go much past Church street, regardless of the quality of the restaurants in the space around Lennox street because the drug affected people do scare me. Driving through I always see dealers and addicts and ensure my doors are locked. I would never visit the medical centre or send my children to that school. I do think it should be in a more commercial area in the CBD to be more fair on local residents and more accessible from people around different areas. 

 As a Richmond resident for quite a long time I have noticed the increase in drug addicts in the area. I no longer feel safe and my daily commute to work is often impacted by drug addicts on trams regardless of the time of day. They are erratic and often violent. I am vision impaired and feel even more of a target. I’m fed up and sick of it seeming like nothing is being done to address the safety of residents. I understand many of the arguments in favour of the MSIR but take it out of a residential area. 

 I’m really not comfortable with my kids seeing the behaviours of these drug users on the streets.

I’m all for the MSIR but it’s location is very concerning. My mother lives in one of the commission flats and every time we go to visit her with the kids, I stress they would step on a needle or touch contaminated surfaces. I too have been in Richmond for more than 30 years and Richmond has changed since the opening of the MSIR. 

 I hate the argument that there have been drugs in the area a long time as if that's an excuse for the behaviours we see every day. I live around the corner from the rooms and a couple of months ago I left my house at 2pm on a Thursday to find 4 men shooting up on my front doorstep during MSIR opening hours. Imagine if that was your child or mother or wife trying to leave the house to be confronted by that, would anyone be ok with that?? They may be cleaning up needles regularly now but why do they need to? If the rooms are such a success why are there still so many needles and human faeces and injections and ambulance call outs in our streets. More problematically there's definitely an increase of scary shouty sweary ice users walking down the streets regularly, walking into traffic. I'm not a timid person and I refuse to not walk down Lennox St to my local Woolies too buy groceries but I'm definitely on high alert the whole time and my husband hates me coming home after work alone. I think most residents firmly believe that the area is a ticking time bomb and it's only a matter of time before an innocent person gets seriously injured. 

  I grew up in the area and have lived there for over 40 years. I have seen the overwhelming increase in drug dealing, shooting up in public, people high on drugs having drug fits in public since it's opened. It was never like this before the injecting room. I experience daily, yes daily incidents that have caused me to now have anxiety as a result . I cannot go the the car park called the 'unofficial injecting room" without walking past people injecting themselves 3, 5, 7 at a time inbetween parked cars, others high on ice going crazy. I am frightened to walk on Lennox street especially going to the health centre as I have again experienced people high on drugs having drug fits. I cannot walk around the estate grounds without seeing drug deals taking place, drug users passed out on the grounds. And 99% of what I experience is during the hours the injecting room is open yet a lot of drug users choose not to use the room and if they do they leave the injecting room and walk around the local area in a drugged up state, the scariest is when they are high on ICE and in a crazed state. I have never been this frightened before living here as I am now.  

I have lived near Lennox street for 9 years and enjoyed its rough edges but in the last approx 12 months I do not feel comfortable walking my dog in the same areas, taking my kid to school due to what they see getting to and from there on a regular basis and I don’t use the maternal centre due to the 2 incidents I have had on my way.
I support having a safe place for user to inject and get help but it needs to be thought through.
This was done in haste and that came with bad decision making
Having this near public transport where they don’t need to wander residential streets is an important part of that decision making.
Please be informed as much as u can before making judgement.

What is also a genuine concern is drugs are only getting cheaper and more toxic, so these will be around the resident homes, kids and health centre users as it is the place to buy and use. Many don’t use the room unfortunately frequently asked questions, so everybody benefits.

 I live 1.5 km from the MSIR, near Burnley Street, and have seen a huge increase in drug dealing and shooting up in cars on my street and surrounding streets over the past year. I often have to wait until the junkies finish shooting up and drive off before I feel comfortable leaving or approaching my house especially when their car is sitting a metre from my front door. I can only imagine how much worse it is for the residents in North Richmond. 

 I’ve lived just off Victoria St (church end) for 7 years.
The combination of the MSIR and whatever happened in the city to move homeless people on...its made the area change a lot. I’m seeing not just heroin addicts but lots of ice addicts. I’m scared of how many people are on the streets at night now in an altered state.
I’m pretty scared of the influx of ice addicts and rightly so.
To be honest, the heroin users weren’t terrifying. But things have changed.

Just this past year:
I’ve stopped walking down Lennox from work to home because I’ve had to call the ambulance twice for people that were having seizures. And once for a man that I was certain was dead. I had to wait to ask someone else to help me approach him to check his pulse because I was too scared to do it myself.
I walk the long way home now but even then, I’m scared of how many people I encounter under some kind of non-alcohol influence. I change my route home every night.

It’s this year that the change came. It’s about the numbers, a huge and very obvious influx. Sure, there used to be addicts in that Lennox seating area but now there are so many. And the entire street. Plus also Bridge Road.

Yesterday two men on the 109 with me openly opened their packet of ice to inspect after collecting it at Lennox St. In the middle of a packed tram. And no one blinks.
The tram line is a thoroughfare for drug dealers, addicts and users. I don’t feel safe on our public transport either. During the day it’s at its worst. The Centrelink placement at the end of the street is a factor for this. It being at the other end of Victoria St sees this entire street a draw card/circuit for dealers and users.

I’m not sure how I can travel in my own residential area safely and without fear as a carspot isn’t an option for me at my apartment complex and parking is a mess at this end of the street.

As soon as I can afford to I will leave Richmond. I can’t live here any longer as a solo female. It’s no longer safe.

For context, I’m not phased by much and never felt scared here before this year - I wouldnt hace been here for 7 years if it was intimidating me. I didn’t care at all about any of it before this year. I thought each to his own & was happy with the regular and visible police presence. But it really has changed dramatically. 

This afternoon I came home to a place I barely recognise anymore. 

I’m a tenant of building 106. I could see at least 20+ people outside the injecting room, some were jumping around uncontrollably, some were swaying back and forth and some were in that so familiar position, as if sleeping slumped over in one spot. 

As I walked towards 106 I could hear more of them before I could see them. I counted 3 slumped over on the floor and 6 others using or already used, all under the building I call my home (106). 

In the mix were families with children trying to avoid as they went on their way. At this point my anxiety started to set in and then the tears. But I continued to walk to the entrance, and waited for the lift to get indoors ASAP. I finally got to my floor and thought all I had just seen was over, but it was not. 

As I got out of the lift I noticed two security guards standing around the side where our laundry facility is. I asked them what was wrong, and they just pointed to the laundry room. In there were two males, they were getting all their stuff ready to shoot up. I asked them how they got in there as the door shuts automatically, so I knew someone had let them in there. This pisses me off more than I can say. 

So I waited for them to get out of there, and I asked them why they don’t use the facility that was purposely built for them. One of them told me he has been barred from there for some reason, he said they do that a lot. 

After the reality of where I (we) live, it still wasn’t over. When I finally got home and shut the door, I should of felt safe. However what I felt was all the emotion of that day and all the many many months of the same thing just take hold of me. And so I just sat at the front door completely taken over by the build up of it all.  

I tried to keep quiet as to not alert my daughter. She also suffers from anxiety and panic attacks. So I didn’t want to get her all worked up. She did hear me though and just wanted to know if I was ok. We sat together and chatted and sobbed until we’d had enough. This has happened before and I know many other residents are suffering too. I’ve never been a person to share my experiences let alone tell people about my feelings. But it’s time to share our real life day to day in this community and the real effects this abomination of a facility has done to us. 



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MRAC - MSIR Residents Action Committee