Skip to navigation | Skip to main content | Skip to footer

Illicit drug user support, stigma and urban effects: debating injecting and consumption rooms in South Western Sydney

Starts: 13:00 11 September 2018
Ends: 14:30 11 September 2018
What is it: Seminar
Organiser: School of Law
Who is it for: University staff, Adults, Alumni, Current University students, General public
Speaker: Professor Stephen Tomsen

The wide consumption of illicit drugs such as heroin and crystal methamphetamine results

in ongoing division about whether these practices are criminal law or public health

matters. To date, Sydney’s MSIC (Medically Supervised Injecting Centre – opened on a

trial basis in 2001) has been the only operating Australian urban location that allows for

safe and supervised consumption without the direct threat of arrest and prosecution.

Interviews with clients and conversations with staff at the MSIC in 2016 suggested there is

a high level of vulnerability to violence and victimisation among injecting drug users

themselves, and that this has an association with difficulties accessing a single inner-city

service. In recent years, this issue has overlapped with discussions about the expanded

need for a crystal methamphetamine ‘smoking room’ and the most ideal and likely urban

location for this, including in South Western Sydney. However, these discussions

produced much controversy and heated debate about the local outcomes of establishing

any such new support. Key questions for research in this area concern: the level of need

for such sub/urban drug user services; the balance of rational and irrational factors

(including collective stigma, fear and disgust) about their location and operation; and if

and how divided views about these can be fairly reconciled in plans to revive

disadvantaged sub/urban areas and promote images of community safety and inclusion?


Professor Stephen Tomsen

Travel and Contact Information

Find event

Room 2.05
Williamson Building

Contact event

Maureen Barlow

0161 275 4916

Share / follow event