Harm Reduction Victoria




The Authentic Voice Of and For

Victorians Who Use Drugs

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Harm Reduction Victoria is a community based Not For Profit organisation. Donations help subsidise our programs that we are not funded to run such as our peer Naloxone training which puts naloxone kits IN THE HANDS of the people who need them most- injecting opiate users and WHACK magazine.

To make a tax free donation, please contact admin@hrvic.org.au



Dear Members,
You are warmly invited to attend Harm Reduction Victoria’s 2017 Annual General Meeting.


Wednesday NOVEMBER 29th 2017
from 4-6pm

In THE PURPLE ROOM at the Multicultural Hub
(opposite Queen Victoria Market)
506 Elizabeth St, Melbourne


A personal invitation from Jenny Kelsall , HRVic’s Executive officer on behalf of HRVic and the HRVic Board:

Dear Harm Reduction Victoria Members,

Please join us for Harm Reduction Victoria’s AGM in 2017.
We would like to see as many of our members and friends and supporters there as possible.
Harm Reduction Victoria is only as strong as our membership and the AGM is an opportunity for us all to come together,
in support of each other and our organisation.

This is your organisation and your attendance at the AGM is a vital part of being a member and making sure that you are actively engaged
with HRVic and all of our operations.

Harm Reduction Victoria claims to speak with the ‘Authentic Voice Of and For Victorian’s Who Use Drugs’.

We can only make this sort of claim if we are truly grounded in our community or communities and if we are able to represent the rich diversity of drug users in this state.

As a member you are eligible to stand for the Board which governs the organisation and/or to elect new Board members. Nominations for the Board must be made on the attached form and
forwarded to the Executive Officer by mail, email or fax to arrive no later than close of business on Wednesday, November 22nd 2017.

If you are unable to attend you may wish to vote by proxy.
An ‘Appointment of Proxy’ form is also included.

We look forward to seeing you all at the AGM.

Warm regards

Jenny Kelsall, Executive Officer HRVic



The expected duration of the meeting is approximately one hour with refreshments following the meeting.

As required by the Constitution, the business of the 2017 Annual General Meeting will be:

-To confirm and approve the Minutes of the 2016 Annual General Meeting
-To receive the Board’s Report and the Audited Statements of Accounts for the year ending 30th June 2017
-Election of Board Members- there will be acouple of vacancies open on the board this AGM
-Transaction of any business  of which at least 7 days notice has been given in writing


CLICK on the LINKS below to access forms:





 Joint statement supporting a medically supervised injecting centre trial in Victoria

As leading community health organisations, peak bodies and advocates, we call on the Victorian Government to pass the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Amendment (Pilot Medically Supervised Injecting Centre) Bill 2017.
The trial of a medically supervised injecting centre (MSIC) in Richmond has widespread support from leading health experts and organisations,[1] the Yarra City Council,[2] and community leaders and businesses. Importantly, people who inject drugs also support a trial of an MSIC in Richmond, and coroners have now made formal recommendations in support of it as well.[3]
MSICs are facilities where people can inject drugs under medical supervision. This reduces the harms associated with injecting drug use, namely fatal overdose and the transmission of bloodborne viruses, such as HIV and hepatitis B and C. Other harms such as accidents, injection related injuries and infections, and stigmatisation of people who inject drugs are also reduced. MSICs also allow for a rapid response in the event of an overdose, the distribution of information about safer drug use practices, referrals to social support services, and treatment and other medical services.
The first MSIC opened in Switzerland in 1986, and Australia currently has one site, which has been operating in Kings Cross, Sydney, since 2001. There are now approximately 100 supervised injecting centres worldwide, a number likely to increase as governments recognise the importance of addressing substance use and harm from a health perspective rather than a law enforcement perspective. Canada has recently approved a number of these sites across their provinces, including three in Toronto alone, in response to the increases in drug-related overdoses. Remarkably, there has not been a single drug overdose fatality in any of the MSICs operating worldwide despite many having been in operation for decades.[4] Meanwhile in Victoria there were over 900 fatal overdoses in the last two years alone.[5]  
Street-based injecting can often occur soon after purchasing substances, close to the point of sale, and in a hurry. MSICs move injecting drug use off the street and reduce associated harms. They also reduce the number of publicly discarded needles, which pose a potential health risk.[6] This is important given that North Richmond needle and syringe program distributes 70,000 syringes each month, some of which residents report finding discarded in public spaces.[7] In addition, MSICs reduce the demand on emergency services, which leads to significant cost savings and economic benefits.
The remarkable success of Sydney’s MSIC,[8] and others worldwide, provides a viable model for Victoria to emulate; one that works in the best interest of those who use the facility, the surrounding communities, and the community at large.
The evidence is overwhelming, MSICs work. We urge the Andrews Government to follow the advice of health experts, residents, and community leaders, and allow an 18-month trial of an MSIC in Richmond.

Alcohol and Drug Foundation
Anglicare Victoria
Ambulance Employees Australia Victoria
Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and other Drugs Australasian Society for HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Health Medicine Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation
Australian Injecting & Illicit Drug Users League
Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations
Australian Research Centre for Sex, Health & Society
City of Yarra
Dr Graham Brown, Australian Research Centre in Sex Health and Society, La Trobe University
Dr Keri Alexander, Addiction Medicine Specialist, MBChB, FRACGP, FRAChAM
Dr Meredith Doig, OAM
Harm Reduction Australia
Harm Reduction Victoria
Hepatitis Victoria
High Alert
Living Positive Victoria
Matthew Townsend, Barrister
National Association of People with HIV Australia

North Richmond Community Health
Odyssey House Victoria
Penington Institute
Phil Dunn, QC
Professor Margaret Hamilton, AO
Public Health Association Australia
Rationalist Society of Australia
Residents for Victoria Street Drug Solutions
Royal Australasian College of Physicians
Royal Australian College of General Practitioners
Scarlet Alliance
Star Health
Students for Sensible Drug Policy Australia
Uniting ReGen
Victorian Aboriginal community Controlled Health Organisation Victorian AIDS Council
Victorian Alcohol & Drug Association
Vixen Collective
Yarra Drug & Health Forum
Youth Support + Advocacy Service



PrintInternational OVERDOSE AWARENESS DAY 31.08.2017

On International Overdose Awareness Day 2017, Harm Reduction Victoria (HRVic) is excited to be launching our new “Recognise & Respond” opioid overdose resources developed by and for people who use drugs in Victoria. These resources have been produced as part of the “Saving Lives – Preventing and Treating Overdose” package announced by Minister Foley earlier this year.

Overdose is taking a huge toll on the Victorian drug using community and their loved ones. Opioid overdose is one of the biggest risks that can be associated with using drugs, in particular injecting drugs. Currently, overdose is taking far too many people, far too soon and is literally decimating local communities, networks and families. The sad reality however is that many, if not most, of these deaths could have been prevented – overdose is preventable.

“There is no single solution to the personal and public health emergency we are facing. It is a complex concern that requires a multi-faceted approach to prevent overdoses, encourage supervised consumption, increase drug user access to naloxone and provide treatment options,” said Charles Henderson, Acting Executive Officer, HRVic.

“We have been taking action for some time with our Drug Overdose Prevention Education (DOPE) program and the peer education workshops we have been conducting for more than 10 years in Victoria. They reach hundreds of drug users every year with accurate and practical information about what to do if/when someone drops. We continue to target drug users with this education because they are the people who are most likely to be there when someone drops. This includes the provision of naloxone and the training required to use it” said Mr Henderson.

The rates of fatal overdose are rising sharply in Victoria.
For the last two years, the Victorian Coroner’s Court has reported the opioid overdose rate at more than 450 deaths per year. This exceeds the annual road toll.
Numerous Victorian coroners have also endorsed the introduction of a facility similar to the Uniting Medically Supervised Injecting Centre in Sydney.

“HRVic calls on the Victorian Government to heed the Coroner’s repeated calls for supervised consumption facilities in Victoria. The fatalities continue: young and old, new and experienced drug users, across all social strata. The tragedy occurs anywhere; on the streets and laneways to the room in the parents’ house where they grew up. This needs to stop, and needs to stop now. Stop pushing people to the margins. Criminalising and stigmatising people who inject drugs will only increase the harms including the unnecessary and preventable deaths from opioid overdose. And in the case of overdose, stigma only serves to further complicate the grieving process for families and friends” concluded Mr Henderson.

Opioid overdose is a matter of life and death. We need a day to remember, and a day to celebrate the lives of those we have lost…

A day to say no more to the rising fatalities and wasted potential.

Email: charlesh@hrvic.org.au

PH: +61- 3 9329 1500


UN and World Health Organisation call for “a review and repeal of punitive laws that including laws that criminalize or otherwise prohibit drug use or possession of drugs for personal use”

On the 27th of June the United Nations and the World Health Organization issued a joint statement on ending discrimination in healthcare, which explicitly calls for member nations to review and repeal “punitive laws that have been proven to have negative health outcomes”. Among the examples of laws that should be repealed listed in this document are any laws that criminalise or otherwise prohibit “drug use or possession of drugs for personal use.”

“National laws, policies and practices can also foster and perpetuate discrimination in health care settings, prohibiting or discouraging people from seeking the broad range of health care services they may need. Some laws run counter to established public health evidence and human rights standards. Evidence demonstrates the harmful health and human rights impacts of such laws…

…Reviewing and repealing punitive laws that have been proven to have negative health outcomes and that counter established public health evidence. These include laws that criminalize or otherwise prohibit gender expression, same sex conduct, adultery and other sexual behaviours between consenting adults; adult consensual sex work; drug use or possession of drugs for personal use; sexual and reproductive health care services, including information; and overly broad criminalization of HIV non-disclosure, exposure or transmission.”

See the full statement here:   http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/statements/2017/discrimination-in-health-care/en/



 We NEED Your HELP!!

ATTENTION!Members, Stakeholders, Partner Orgs , Services and General Public


but felt like you couldn’t or thought it was too “un PC”to do so?? 

1. There are NO DUMB QUESTIONS and 

Harm Reduction Victoria along with Burnet Institute, Kirby Instititute and ASHM are filming a short episode of a Q & A show modelled on a popular Australian internet series for showing at the 2017 INHSU conference and to be used for education purposes here at home.

‘Straight Shooting’ asks a panel of injecting drug users from around the world, the awkward & uncomfortable, the hard and sometimes inappropriate questions that you’ve always wanted to know the answers to, but were too afraid to ask- for whatever reason.

This Q&A panel with a difference, opens the floor for questions from the public.

Gone are the pre-planned, politically correct, same-old same-old, guided questions we have asked and heard the answers to a million times.
This is your chance to anonymously ask that embarrassing, awkward, naïve, silly, compassionate and even stigmatizing question you’ve always wanted to ask someone who injects drugs, but never had the courage or the opportunity to do so.

A heart warming and eye opening session that will challenge the way we all see drug injectors – as the individuals behind the stereotypes, that they are.

QUESTIONS: If you have a question you’ve always wanted to ask an injector, or want to send through a question you have heard or been asked as an injector that you think the public can learn from, send it to email: just_ask@hrvic.org.au or if you don’t want an email linked to your question, you can ask via our ANONYMOUS SurveyMonkey link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/K3Q5PLD

Your question may be answered during the filming of the short video with the same name or you may see it asked and answered LIVE at the panel at INSHU 2017 (which will be recorded for later viewing). We don’t require any names or identifying anything to go with the question, it is just about learning about injectors and what makes us tic.

We would love for people attending INHSU to participate as well as delegate’s friends, family, colleagues and anyone else you can think of to share with.

Questions are open to the public.

Please share with all your networks as the more questions we get, the more we learn.

Thank you.


More Failed Drug Policy –

This time targeting music festivals

During the weekend, via an exclusive with the Herald Sun, the Police Minister, Lisa Neville told Victorians of her intention to overhaul police powers to stop and search patrons attending dance festivals and music events in rural Victoria.

“Recent Government comments in the media are disappointing because they seem to be conflating the issues of ‘overdose’, which is a community wide concern and significantly more prevalent within settings where people use alone and ‘dance festival drug use’. We believe this conflation is unhelpful in responding to any potential drug related harms in each context. We are concerned that comments such as the Minister’s will potentially cause greater harm due to misunderstanding and fear and creating negative stereotypes and myths which can ultimately impede measured and appropriate health based responses” stated Charles Henderson, Acting Executive Officer of Harm Reduction Victoria (HRVic).

HRVic is dismayed to learn that the Victorian Police and Government will develop drug policy that targets drug use at dance festivals in Victoria in this way. “The Herald Sun states that dance festivals are “drug riddled” and police should stop and search without reason, thereby encroaching on civil liberties through random profiling at festival entrances. Combined with the idea of sniffer dogs this will serve to hinder health promotional initiatives such as increasing education, knowledge and peer support” further stated Mr. Henderson.

Many community based organisations have expressed concern about the way such an important policy development announcement was made public on a weekend and without prior consultation. Both the Herald Sun and the Police Minister have defended the weekend release and the ‘exclusivity’ of the story saying it is ‘business as usual’ and a ‘normal state of affairs’. Charles Henderson states “this is generally not the way credible, evidence based policy is released for public scrutiny. Such a significant policy shift that will directly affect the lives and human rights of festival goers across Victoria should have been the subject of extensive consultation prior to any public release”.

In increasing enforcement powers, it remains unclear whether the Minister is proposing new legislation or will act on amending current legislation such as the Major Sporting Events Act 2009. Regardless of the legislative vehicle, permitted dance festivals already do a massive amount of work and invest significant time and money to ensure the events are run successfully and that the health and safety of their patrons is paramount. These proposed reforms could lead to a rise in underground events, detached from emergency support and safety considerations.

“Harm Reduction Victoria through its innovative outreach program “DanceWize” can testify to the significant effort from festival organisers in combining the expertise of many health personnel and peer educators to ensure the safety of its festival goers. At the end of the day, the festival lives or dies on being open, transparent and safe and professional event organisers work tirelessly to ensure a happy time is had by all persons, travelling to and from the event and during the event itself” concluded Mr. Henderson.

For further information contact Charles Henderson on 0410 183 097 or 03 9329 1500

Survey on Stigma and Hepatitis

Stigma, Hepatitis and drug use is the trifecta when it comes to stigma and discrimination.

Whats your experience? Hep Vic want to know!

Hepatitis Victoria are doing a survey of people who have hepatitis B and/or hepatits C , or of people who know someone or work with people who have hepatitis B and/or C. This information is super important so HRVic is doing our bit to reach those in our community who can help. To take the survey, follow this link: http://www.hepvic.org.au/page/1215/stigma-and-discrimination



Harm Reduction Victoria Want An End To Preventable Deaths


Harm Reduction Victoria strongly support last week’s call from the Coroner to establish a safe injecting facility trial. According to acting Executive Officer Charles Henderson, “People are dying entirely preventable deaths. A supervised injecting centre will reduce harm. The point of this sort of resource in the community is to remove pressure from other emergency services, reduce public injecting and help connect people who inject drugs with health, drug treatment and social welfare services.”


In a recent submission to the Victorian Government’s Inquiry into Drug Law Reform, Harm Reduction Victoria conducted a survey of street-based injectors along North Richmond’s Victoria Street. The responses were positive, “I’d use one because everyone knows where you are, there’s less danger if you drop. It’d be good.” Another respondent highlighted the desire among people who use drugs to get off the streets and into a supervised injecting facility, “Of course, for safety and not having to use in public. Not being interrupted.”


The Coroner’s call for a trial of a supervised injecting centre joins a growing chorus of experts, academics, community members and business owners who all understand that a trial is needed. It is also the second coronial report in 2017 to make this recommendation.


“Mr. Chapman’s death could easily have been avoided if he had been able to attend a supervised injecting centre. There are many more Victorians who have died needlessly in the streets. These are members of our community and just as deserving of life and dignity as any other human being. Drug use doesn’t define a person, and if that use becomes problematic then access to appropriate services becomes key. Drug using is transitionary in reality and adverse drug using often pass in time” says Mr. Henderson.


It is estimated that there around just under 14,000 on pharmacotherapy programs in Victoria and around 100,000 people who inject drugs in Australia. The City of Yarra is a current hotspot for injecting drug use, with people coming to the area from across the state. This also means that a disproportionate number of overdoses and deaths occur in the City of Yarra. Harm Reduction Victoria’s submission to the recent inquiry called on the Victorian government to establish a mobile safe injecting facility in Melbourne to move across changing locations and areas of need, guided by an expert advisory committee including representation of people who inject drugs.


Mr. Henderson points out that there isn’t confusion in the sector over the need for this centre, “There are several different models that have been proposed to provide a supervised injecting centre for the area. It is something that a trial would be able to readily assess and determine by its completion. What we need to see now is action to prevent further deaths in our community.”



Charles Henderson –  0410183097


HRVic Submission to the Drug Law Reform Inquiry:



BLOODY SERIOUS FACTS Wed May 31st 2017 10am-12:30pm

This is your LAST CHANCE to register for the comprehensive Hepatitis C training workshop run by St. Vincent’s and HRVic on May 31st.


Bloody Serious facts is a workshop designed for AOD workers, nurses,NSP workers, community health staff, students of health professions, prison staff, welfare workers and anyone else working with people who are at risk of or are affected by Hepatitis C

  • During the 2.5 hour session, we will cover:
    An Intro to Hep C- Testing, Transmission, Diagnoses and Treatment
    The Impact & Meaning of Being Hep C +- An insight into living with Hep C and the treatment journey by a person with lived experience.
    A Practical Exercise- The not so bbvious risks of transmission during the mixing up and injecting process.
    A short case study.
    Location:Room 4, Aikenhead Building
    St Vincents Hospital, Cnr Nicholson St and Victoria Pde, Fitzroy VICCost: $25.00 per personRefreshments will be available and all atendees receive an HRVic harm reduction ‘show bag’ to take back to work.
  • Please Note: Tickets can now be INVOICED to your workplace if you’d like to register one or more workers .
  • Click the ‘ORDER NOW’  button.
  • Pick how many tickets you want from the drop down menu.
  • Click on the ‘CHECKOUT’ button
  • Scroll down and fill out the Registration Information. In the ‘Payment’ section, choose ‘PAY BY INVOICE’ in the drop down menu.
  • Complete the rest of the form and click on ‘SEND INVOICE’ at the bottom.
  • You will receive a confirmation email and we will send you an invoice. Easy. 🙂

See you there!



Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison’s budget, targets and punishes drug users and those dependent on substances without having any alternatives lined up for help or support.

Is There Potential for Better Days Ahead? –  Not by targeting job seekers and vulnerable community members

Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison claimed his budget released last night is founded on fairness and opportunity, but the trial for drug checking for Job Seekers and further punitive measures for drug dependent persons on Disability Support Pensions (DSP) does not speak of inclusiveness for all. For those who are looking for work, have a disability, who use drugs or have a mental health condition, the way ahead is full of uncertainty and dread.

The commencement of a ‘modest’ drug testing trial for 5,000 new welfare recipients, whereby Newstart and Youth Allowance recipients who test positive to drugs will be placed on the Cashless Debit Card for their welfare payments, be subjected to further tests and possibly referral for treatment, is a recipe for increased marginalisation and presents a real risk of further unintended and negative consequences.
Charles Henderson, Acting EO of Harm Reduction Victoria states, “People who are unemployed and may have used drugs or battle co-morbid mental health and drug dependency conditions will experience barriers and limited options. This will do little to support job placement, but it will increase misery, marginalisation and disconnect people further.”


With an underfunded drug treatment sector across the nation, the Treasurer’s strategy will prove challenging to implement, not to mention it is well documented in research that mandatory referral to drug treatment is far from effective.

“Given people who use drugs and their families already experience a high degree of stigma and discrimination within Australian society, this strategy has the potential for a further deleterious effect on their health and wellbeing.” Mr. Henderson went on to state that “rather than penalise drug users and further isolate them, let’s work with these individuals to ensure they receive the services they require, be that education, training or places in drug treatment programs.”


Services such as Harm Reduction Victoria and drug treatment facilities are forever facing funding limitations which affect their capacity and reach; receiving meagre amounts while delivering huge returns on that investment.


“The announcements do little that will make a real and positive difference in people’s lives” says Mr. Henderson, “Judgmental attitudes and coercive practices surrounding drug use and mental health will never provide solutions. Policy examples such as these will limit services’ overall effectiveness and ultimately be counterproductive to placing people in jobs or successfully managing mental health conditions.”

For media contact and further information please contact Charles Henderson at the HRVic Office (03)93291500



The Medically Supervised Injecting Centre (MSIC) has been a hot topic in Melbourne and is having politicians running for cover. All the organisations and institutions want one, the resident’s are screaming for one, even the businesses in Victoria St Richmond have been asking for one- but what do injecting drug users want? Is anyone asking? We want to hear from people who inject. What is YOUR opinion about a medically supervised injecting centre? Do you think the drug market will stay in the Richmond area or will it move like it has always done? Will creating a injecting centre in one area affect other drug markets around Melbourne? Take our survey below and be in the running for an HRVic prize pack!*

*The survey is anonymous.To be in the running for the prize pack you will need to follow the link at the end of the survey.


Create your own user feedback survey


Bloody Serious Facts time again! May 31st- BOOK NOW to avoid disappointment.



Hepatitis C and more specifically the Hep C treatment landscape has changed dramatically over the past year.

Come along to refresh yourself on the basics and learn the latest about the new direct acting anti virals at our training session held at St Vincents Hospital on May 31st 2017.

Book Here:





HRVic’s Drug Law ReForum

If you missed out on HRVic’s Drug ReForum-Putting the ‘U’ in Drug Law reform, last December then we have a treat for you!

The Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into Drug Law Reform is currently taking submissions AS WE SPEAK! We had our forum on all the topics we (The Drug User Organisation of Victoria-Harm Reduction Victoria) want to see on submissions and have made it available for all of you-our valued membership- to view and make your own submissions up. The link to send in your submissions is here > https://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/images/stories/committees/lrrcsc/Drugs_/Media_Release/Media_Release_LRRCSC_2017-02-01.pdf

Harm Reduction Victoria Forum: Parliamentary Inquiry into Drug Law Reform from Light City Films on Vimeo.

Happy viewing!

Or watch on the Vimeo link here > https://vimeo.com/207745091

Let us know what you think. If you need help with your submission, please don’t hesitate to contact us.  Submissions don’t need to be a difficult task-nor an over informed research essay- they just need your REAL LIFE, REAL EXPERIENCE story. Best of luck.



 “People who Inject Drugs – Central to the Solution to Hepatitis C in Australia!”


One year to the day after Australia became the first country in the world to provide affordable, universal access to the new Direct Acting Antiviral (DAA) hepatitis C treatments, regardless of genotype or how the infection was acquired, Harm Reduction Victoria, the organisation representing those most affected by hepatitis C in Victoria is celebrating this ‘first’ for Australia, yet there’s still a great deal more to be done.

The most recent hepatitis C treatment monitoring report[1] from the Kirby Institute shows that an estimated 25,000 people were initiated onto the new DAA treatments up to September 2016 and that the proportion of individuals receiving their prescriptions from GPs increased from 4% in March 2016 to almost 20% in September 2016.

Ms Kelsall stated “This increasing shift towards delivering hep C treatment in the primary care/GP-based settings is particularly important for the people that Harm Reduction Victoria represents, that is, people who inject drugs. Our members experience high levels of stigma and discrimination in the health system and these are other barriers frequently prevent them from accessing any sort of health care.”

For this reason, Harm Reduction Victoria believes that if we want to continue to see increases in the numbers of people coming forward for the new hepatitis C treatments, it will be critical to reach those people who are highly marginalised and currently not in contact with the health system such as people who inject drugs. We have successful achieved the ‘first wave’ of treatment but reaching beyond those who are ‘ready and willing’ will take innovative models and approaches in particular, peer informed and peer delivered models of hepatitis C prevention, testing and treatment.

“These models need to be designed and delivered by and for people who inject drugs and will need to look and feel different to the existing services that all too often exclude many people who are most in need of those services. Peer-based organisations such as Harm Reduction Victoria have the unique knowledge and experience needed to develop such approaches. Only genuine partnership with those directly affected will guarantee hepatitis C elimination in the long term. After all, it is about the lives and health of our community and we will continue to ensure their needs remain central to any hep C elimination strategy.” Ms Kelsall concluded.



[1]The Kirby Institute. Monitoring hepatitis C treatment uptake in Australia (Issue 6). The Kirby Institute, UNSW Sydney, Sydney, Australia, February 2017 (available online at: http://kirby.unsw.edu.au/research-programs/vhcrp-newsletters). For more information, contact Professor Greg Dore (gdore@kirby.unsw.edu.au) or Dr Behzad Hajari (bhajarizadeh@kirby.unsw.edu.au)



NEW WHACK 35: Special Edition -Parliamentary Inquiry is OUT NOW!!


Patient members will be receiving their copies this week! After the too-ing and fro-ing from the Vic government about whether the Parliamentary Inquiry into Illicit and Synthetic Substances and Prescription Medication (now called the Inquiry into Drug Law Reform) would go ahead and then, whether the submissions will be taken now or later a decision was finally made and we now have a month essentially to get submissions into the inquiry before they drop the report in March 2018.

In their own words:

On 11 November 2015, the Legislative Council issues the attached terms of reference for the Inquiry into Illicit and Synthetic Drugs and Prescription Medication.

The Law Reform, Road and Community Safety Committee has since refined the terms of reference and amended the inquiry title to the Inquiry into Drug Law Reform.

The Committee will inquire into, consider and report, no later than 9 March 2018 on:

1) The effectiveness of laws, procedures and regulations relating to illicit and synthetic drugs and the misuse of prescription medication in minimising drug-related health, social and economic harm; and

2) The practice of other Australian states and territories and overseas jurisdictions and their approach to drug law reform and how other positive reforms could be adopted into Victorian law.

Taken from their website: http://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/lrrcsc/inquiries/article/2809

READ ONLINE NOW at : http://hrvic.org.au/whack-magazine/

Just click on the flipbook to enlarge and read to your hearts content!

Issue 36 expected April 2017 🙂

We are taking contributions of articles and artwork NOW. Email your stories and artwork to Sam at samj@hrvic.org.au or Tamara at tamaras@hrvic.org.au


 Medically Supervised Injecting Centre in Melbourne? We’ve only been asking for the past 10 Years!

Drug User Organisation Calls For Injecting Facility at North Richmond –

A Health Service Whose Time Has Come

Harm Reduction Victoria (HRVic) welcomes the united call to action yesterday in the (Melbourne’s) Herald Sun newspaper, by prominent Australian organisations and individuals in support of the establishment of a medically supervised injection facility at North Richmond, Melbourne.

With 90 injecting facilities globally, the Irish government legislating this week for a roll out of injection facilities across their nation, and Sydney’s exhaustively evaluated Kings Cross Medically Supervised Injecting Centre (MISC), the time is well overdue for the establishment of Melbourne’s equivalent at North Richmond.

Jenny Kelsall, Executive Officer HRVic states “Everywhere that safer injecting facilities have been established show vast improvements in individual and public health, increased access to allied health and social services and most importantly of all, lives saved through reducing entirely preventable overdose deaths.”

HRVic works collaboratively with key stakeholders and other organisations in Melbourne and Victoria-wide to achieve best outcomes for people who use or inject drugs. We do this by accepting people where they’re at, not as we would like them to be. As a peer-based organisation HRVic has a unique empathy and understanding of the lived experience of people who use drugs and this is at the heart of our programs and services. Recently, the Victorian Coroner was moved to directly request a submission from HRVic on our understanding of the situation in relation to drug related overdose in North Richmond.

“HRVic represents people who use and inject drugs in Victoria. Our programs and services provide crucial support and practical strategies to one of the most marginalized and stigmatized groups in the community including a peer-based naloxone opioid overdose prevention program in the North Richmond area which has already saved many lives” Ms. Kelsall continued.

Overdose deaths in Victoria continue to increase year by year and have grown steadily since 2010, increasing by 17% between 2014/2015, and by a further 26% in 2015/2016. The data suggests drugs such as heroin are increasingly involved in these deaths, along with a range of other substances according to recent coronial data. Access to a supervised injecting facility has the potential to reverse these statistics.

The mountain of evidence in support of the effectiveness of safe injecting facilities culminating in today’s calls within the media for such services, only serves to underscore the urgent need for action in this area. It is a service whose time has well and truly come. After all, everyone at risk of a drug related overdose is someone that someone else cares for and loves – someone’s child, someone’s sibling, someone’s parent, someone’s friend.

Safer injecting facilities for Victoria now!

For more information contact Jenny Kelsall on +61 439 655 734 or +61 3 9329 1500 or Charles Henderson +61 0410 183 097


We would like to hear from our community- the people who inject drugs– whether you would use a medically supervised injecting centre (SIF=safe injecting facility/supervised injecting facility) in Richmond and if you think others would?

Let us know by emailing social@hrvic.org.au or by taking our Facebook survey. Find us at HRVic_Aust on facebook now.




It has come around fast but it is THAT time of year again!!

Wallets get emptied, Bellies get filled, trees get dressed and the love gets spread! Also at HRVic, votes get cast and new Boards get made!

You are invited to attend HRVic’s 2016 AGM! On Wednesday 7th December 2016 from 4-6Pm. At The Multicultural Hub, Elizabeth St. Melbourne.



We look forward to seeing at least some of you there!

Come hear what YOUR organisation has been getting up to in the past year and vote for our new bosses- the new board.

(There are 4 positions up for grabs and we have 8 prospective b.members in the running- all with their own unique skills and experience to offer.)

There will be refreshments available and good end of year banter to take part in.

See you there!


HRVic’s Position On Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) new DAA Treatments

The specified book id does not exist.






An outstanding show of support and interest has SOLD OUT

the March 10th,May 4th and June 15th sessions of Bloody Serious Facts.

Due to the intense interest at this time surrounding the new Hep C treatments and ‘Where to from here?’ we have decided to add another date to our existing three.

Wed. October 5th is now available for Registrations RIGHT NOW!!


Bloody Serious Facts is a face to face, hands on workshop developed by healthcare professionals and people with lived experience of hep c specifically for AOD workers, nurses, NSP workers, community health staff, students of health professions, prison staff, welfare workers and anyone else working with people who are at risk of or are affected by Hepatitis C.

The 2.5 hour workshop covers:

  • Intro to Hep C: from transmission, testing, diagnoses, to treatment & disclosure
  • New Treatments: all your questions answered & challenges discussed and lived experience shared
  • Injecting & Transmission: -a practical demo showing the sometimes invisible transmission risk areas
  • Case Study: what would you do?-clients at risk or affected by HCV
  • * Light refreshments are provided

Time:   10:00 AM – 12:30 PM

Room 4, Ground Floor, Aikenhead Building,
St. Vincent’s Hospital
Victoria Pde entrance near to Nicholson St.

 Cost: $25 per person*

*or FREE if you or your organisation** are a member of Harm Reduction Victoria or you are a staff member of St.Vincent’s
(**limited to 2 FREE tickets per organisation)

Harm Reduction Victoria Announces the Resignation Of Their Chair, Bill O’Loughlin – August 2016

It is with heavy heart that Harm Reduction Victoria announces the resignation of Bill O’Loughlin from the HRVic board and from his role as chair of the organization.

Bill has been a valued board member and supporter of HRVic for the past 3 years.

The HRVic board and staff acknowledges Bill’s many contributions to the organization and appreciate his tireless efforts working for and on behalf of our members and primary constituents, i.e. people who use and inject drugs.

He will be sorely missed.

HRVic wishes Bill the best in all his future endeavors.

HRVic is delighted to announce that Dr Robyn Dwyer (former vice Chair) will be taking over as HRVic’s new chair. Dr Dwyer has kindly agreed to fill the position left vacant by Bill’s resignation.

HRVic warmly welcomes Dr Dwyer to her new role and looks forward to working with her in the future.



Yup. You heard right. (Read right..?)

Harm Reduction Victoria is proud to announce that we have finally entered the 21st century. The age of technorance. The world wide interwebs.

Video styles.

Bare with us as we get our videos made and uploaded. If you want to see anything in particular LET US KNOW. Afterall we are OUR organisation. We do and make things for OUR community. We share OUR knowledge with EACHOTHER. We are you are us are eachother.

Check it.

Our first video uploaded to our brand spankin channel is Craig Harvey’s ‘How To Open- Naloxone Ampoules’.

Due to the unfortunate fact that the easy to use naloxone mini jets will not be manufactured or available on PBS anymore, we are left with the sometimes fiddly Naloxone ampoules. Craig’s video is a simple, straight forward, easy to understand and follow instruction video that makes dealing with the little glass vials a little less daunting in an emergency situation. A must see for all ampoule newbies.


NEW Hepalogue from The Golden Phaeton 23/08/16

With all the talk of eliminating and even eradicating Hep C, The Golden Phaeton looks at the probability of such a concept- Pipe dream or light at the end of the tunnel?

You decide….










our Hepatitis Day Quiz winner!!

Thank you to everyone who participated and shared the good word that the NEW Hep C treatments are better, easier and AVAILABLE NOW!


World Hepatitis Day 2016

To celebrate World Hepatitis Day 2016 and how far Hep C treatment has come in Australia and the world in the past year+ HRVic would like to offer our community the chance to spread the good news about hep c treatments and reward you with $100 cold hard cash for doing so!!
For your chance to win a shiny Avocado (hundred dollar note) , click on HRVic’s “C Ya!- Treat & Defeat Hep C campaign link below . Complete the Hep C new treatments quiz to be in the running. Share with your friends for extra points!!

World Hepatitis Week at Harm Reduction Victoria






2016 National NAIDOC Poster 

NAIDOC march – Friday 8th July  at 10.30 am

NAIDOC Week celebrations are held across Australia each July to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. NAIDOC is celebrated not only in Indigenous communities, but by Australians from all walks of life. The week is a great opportunity to participate in a range of activities and to support your local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.

NAIDOC originally stood for ‘National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee’. This committee was once responsible for organising national activities during NAIDOC Week and its acronym has since become the name of the week itself. Find out more about the origins and history of NAIDOC Week.

Come to the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service (186 Nicholson St, Fitzroy) at 10:30am

for a pre-march festival with food, refreshments and activities for the whole family.

The march will depart at 11.45am from VAHS, walk down Nicholson Street onto Spring Street,

turn down Bourke Street and then onto Swanston Street finishing up at Fed Square.




Harm Reduction Victoria has an ethical obligation to our community that we take very seriously, and as such we have decided to stop distributing the new Terumo 1ml fits in response to continuous complaints from our clients about their poor quality and the range of harms reported by consumers.

The safety of people who use and inject drugs is always Harm Reduction Victoria’s (HRVic’s) first priority. We are here to reduce drug-related harms and to protect our community from the potential hazards associated with drug use.

As one of our constituents asked us:

“If Harm Reduction Victoria won’t stand up for and safeguard people who inject drugs, who will?”

As a result, we will no longer supply the Terumo fits which we know are sub-standard. We can no longer turn a blind eye to the damage done and the distress already caused.
Enough is enough!

Harm Reduction Victoria will continue to document incidents of harm and will pass on complaints to the Health Department (DHHS). (To be fair, DHHS is working hard behind the scenes with the Pennington Institute along with Harm Reduction Victoria and a number of other concerned organisations to find a solution as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, the wheels of bureaucracy turn slowly and this will take time.)

The big question we are left with is what to do in the meantime?
How do we keep our community safe until we have a permanent solution and an ongoing supply of good quality equipment?

As of today (June 27 2016) Harm Reduction Victoria will stop handing out the new Terumo 1ml syringes routinely.
Instead we will distribute the best current alternatives:
– Terumo 1 ml syringe with 29-gauge needle (old stock)
– Terumo 3 ml syringe with detachable 27-gauge needle

We will also source several alternative options similar to the old Terumo 1 ml fits including:
– BD 1 ml syringe with 27-gauge needle
– Terumo 1 ml syringes with detachable 27 gauge needle.
– other 1ml alternatives if available in Australia

Harm Reduction Victoria will continue to hand out the information pamphlet and poster we have developed to highlight the problems associated with the new batch of Terumo 1ml fits and tips on using them as safely as possible.
However, the bottom line is that they are essentially an inferior product and there is no way to completely eliminate the possible risks with using them or the risk of BBV transmission with NOT using them.
As a consumer-it is YOUR choice and we understand your dilemma when seeking alternatives but we strongly urge our members and constituents NOT to use them.

Watch this space! We will keep you posted.

If you or your organisation would like more information on HRVic’s stance, and how you can support it, please don’t hesitate to call 03-93291500.


HRVic Support Dont Punish Day Melbourne 2016

Support Don’t Punish Day 2016


Join us for the Melbourne event of
the global Support Don’t Punish Day Campaign!

International Support Don’t Punish Day aims to draw attention to the harms of failed drug policies, from incarceration and the denial of adequate service, to the death penalty. This is a global day of advocacy to raise awareness about the health promotion and human rights of people who use or have used drugs, especially those who’ve had contact with the criminal justice system.

A number of organisations are joining together to put on a day of action in the Nicholson Street Mall, Footscray from 11am – 5pm.

Our speakers start from 1pm.
Greg Denham from Law Enforcement Against Prohibition will host the Speaker’s Session. Speakers include:

Tony Parsons from Dandenong Drug Court
Michael Miller from Family Drug Support
Debbie from Family Drug Support
Dave Taylor from the Victorian Alcohol And Drug Association
Adam Wilson from Fitzroy Legal Services

Join in the international photo campaign with our interactive photobooth, mural painting, mock prison, sausage sizzle and raffle for official Support Don’t Punish Day t-shirts.

You can support the event on social media by joining the “thunderclap” to coordinate an international social media campaign.





Bloody Serious Facts is on again!

June 15th from 10Am-12:30 PM

After 2 SOLD OUT workshops, HRVic alongside the St Vincent’s Hepatitis Educator, present the 3rd Hep C specific workshop for 2016!

Come and find out all about the New Hep C, DAA treatments!!

$25 or FREE for Members of Harm Reduction Victoria (JOIN TODAY!) and St. Vincent’s Staff

Register NOW so you don’t miss out! We won’t be doing another until October so get in QUICK!


NEW HRVic online Health Promotion Resource ordering store!    www.hrvicresources.bigcartel.com

We are proud to announce that we finally have a system for the online ordering of HRVic’s very own health promotion resources. Posters, Fit Pak Stickers, Brochures are available now with more stock being added daily. Coming soon- Postcards, PDF downloads, and more and more designs!!! For mpore information or specific resource requests that may not yet be in the store, follow the store link to the contact page and send us an email. We’d love to hear your feedback!


Drug subsidies could eliminate hepatitis C in Australia within a decade, experts say

AMBy Tom Nightingale

There is a realistic chance hepatitis C will be eliminated within a few years due to new public subsidies of powerful drugs, some of Australia’s top health experts say.  Full story here.

Photo left: Musician Sam Sejavka says stigma is a major challenge for people with Hepatitis C.

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CaptureThe wait, it seems, is over.

We’ve been strung along before. Our hopes sustained by continual promises of miraculous new elixirs. Just around the corner, they would say. Just wait, they’d say. It will come.

Is it any wonder that people have developed a degree of cynicism? I myself have endured four interferon-based treatment regimens, spanning decades. Yes, each came closer to purging the HCV virus from my flesh, but each was also a poisonous experience. Indeed, when I think back to those times my stomach squirms in its nest.
But, now the long wait is over.

Read the first installment of The Hepalogue, – HRV’s fantastic new Hep C blog.

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Shane Levene, Pete O’Doherty, & The Libertines!

libertines-logo-650x162CaptureWe are very proud to announce that one of Whack’s most brilliant contributors, the wordsmith Shane Levene, is now on tour with The Libertines. Shane is doing his original spoken word with Pete O’Doherty accompanying on guitar.

Here is the original text for the piece.

Here is a slightly dodgy camera clip of the event!


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Today is the National Drug Summit held at Parliment House Canberra.

Australia’s recreational drug policies aren’t working, so what are the options for reform?

Tweets from National Drug Summit Tweets from National Drug SummitAbove are some choice twitter comments from the summit. There are also a number of places to follow the action live on Twitter- we would suggest Richard Di Natale’s Twitter feed and also #ParlDrugSummit.  Richard Di Natale just finished a press conference which you can watch here.

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CaptureIt stops with us : Peer responses increase availability of sterile injecting equipment. 

Peter Higgs, Shelley Cogger, Jenny Kelsall, Nadia Gavin, Kasey Elmore, Penny Francis, Paul Dietze
International Journal of Drug Policy, Vol. 29, p96–97
Published online: January 7 2016

Veiw full article here.

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Today is the Day for accessing all the new HCV treatments!  


From today, 1 March 2016, directing acting antivirals to treat hepatitis C will be available on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. The medicines are: sofosbuvir with ledipasvir (Harvoni); sofosbuvir (Sovaldi); daclatasvir (Daklinza); and ribavirin (Ibavyr). Treatment regimens will involve daily combinations of one to three of these drugs taken orally over a period of 8 to 24 weeks. Full article click here 


Download the print ready version here. Thanks to Hepatitis NSW for the brilliant graphic!

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Bloody Serious Facts March 10th Workshop has sold out. Check flyer for details on upcoming workshop dates: 4th May, 15th June, 5th Oct.

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ARCSHS BBV Update Forum
New Hepatitis C Treatments: The Road Ahead
21st March 2016, 9:00am – 1:00pm

From March 1st the new hepatitis C direct acting antiviral (DAA) treatments will be available on the PBS.  These new drugs offer a 90% chance of cure, very few side effects and less than 3 months treatment duration.  In addition, for the first time, GPs will be able to initiate hepatitis C treatment and prescribe these new drugs.  This FREE interactive forum will include a detailed overview of the new DAAs, provide up to date information about the processes for accessing treatment, and explore ways the community based workforce can engage and support hepatitis C affected communities. Come along and join the conversation about these incredible new treatments, the challenges we face on the road ahead and the steps we can take to address them.

More Details

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xABC’s The World Today Program “Calls for pill testing to curb ecstasy deaths”

More great coverage on the push for Pill testing in Victoria.

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CaptureToday the Victorian AIDS Council (VAC) and Harm Reduction Victoria (HRV) produced a joint media release calling on the Victorian Government to introduce a pill testing trial in light of the investigation by the ABC’s Four Corners program into drug-related deaths. The media release includes quotes from VAC CEO Simon Ruth, and HRV President Bill O’Loughlin.   VAC_HRV pill testing

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SnifferDogSurveyFor more information email peta.malins@rmit.edu.au

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Caldicott memeIts going to be compelling viewing on the ABC tonight, Monday 15 Feb, with a provocative Four Corners story concentrating on drug use at dance festivals. Gold Walkley award-winning reporter Caro Meldrum-Hanna goes inside Australia’s dance party drug scene.

“Despite the feel good nickname, ‘party drugs’ can kill. Seven young Australians have died in the space of a year, hospital admissions are on the rise and concerns are growing about the increasing purity of the drugs. But this isn’t deterring them.

Like sometimes you have a car crash but you still drive your car.” Drug User.  With billions spent on enforcing anti-drug laws, some of Australia’s most eminent medical, legal and policing minds are speaking out and saying the “war on drugs” is failing. “This law enforcement effort is not only not effective but is actually harmful. The focus on drug law enforcement has been an expensive way of achieving failure.” Drug Law Reform Expert”

Read More here, and here.   People can watch @caromeldrum’s ‪#‎4Corners‬ report on @abciview and on our website now: http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/

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Harm Reduction Victoria (HRV) has a fantastic employment opportunity to join our small team. We need a dynamic person to fill the role of Administration Manager and run our office in North Melbourne. Learn more

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Map crowd

Worldwide, an estimated 130 to 150 million people are chronically infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV). Obtaining reliable, update-to-date information on HCV is a major challenge for health experts and HCV advocates. Until now, there has been no centralized system for collecting and sharing this vital information with the international health community. To address this lack of data and enhance advocacy efforts, Médecins du Monde (MdM) and Treatment Action Group (TAG) have launched mapCrowd, a new online crowdsourcing platform designed to gather and publicize the most up-to-date country-level information on HCV. Providing free access to national, regional, and international data, mapCrowd allows users to draw visual comparisons between countries, using interactive graphs, tables, and maps. Users can download the entire mapCrowd database in Excel format for their own analysis. MapCrowd

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Story title not about drugs

‘Ecstasy wasn’t safe. But as a medication, it was safer than aspirin. As a risk, it was safer than horse-riding. And as a recreational substance it was cheaper, safer and better than its most prevalent competitor, binge-drinking. Public event police all over the world noted that it seemed to result in a marked decrease in violence. The horse-riding comparison was made famous by the UK government advisor David Nutt. He was fired for it. When a police chief in Northern Wales made the comparison with aspirin, the Daily Mail called him “publicity mad”, and so on. One UK government figure said that Nutt’s “comments” meant he was clearly unfit to advise the government. Rationality was expressly forbidden.’

 Echolalia‘- read more

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HRV”s Bill O’Loughlin speaks with Jon Faine 774 ABC Radio.


1 February: Bill O” Loughlin speaks with Jon Faine on 774 ABC Melbourne about illicit drug amnesty bins at music festivals.  

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Dance Wize at Rainbow Serpent Festival.  // More Images at Photo Gallery //


// More Images at Photo Gallery //

We would really love to see more photos from Rainbow. If anyone connected to DanceWize whom attended the festival has any photos they would like to share, please email them to loki@hrvic.org.au or PM here. We are on the lookout for some new photos to expand the photo gallery!

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Over the counter Naloxone. 

Naloxone is available over the counter today – no script needed! Unfortunately the ampules are to be sold minus a needle.. which isnt much help. Naloxone will still be scheduled on Schedule 4, which means you can still obtain it on prescription. But it will also be available on Schedule 3, which means it can be obtained over the counter through a pharmacy. That is important when it comes to cost; those with a prescription could pay $6 for a 5 pk of single use injectables. Unfortunately unscrupulous pharmacies could charge what they want to those who need it without a script.

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HRV /Dance Wize at Pride March

Last Sunday Jan 31 Harm Reduction Victoria including a strong contingent from our DanceWize team were there to celebrate the 21st Anniversary of Melbourne’s own Pride March. Thankfully the sun came out and by the looks of it so did most of Melbourne. This year there was a record number of marchers with over 200 groups, organisations and sporting teams taking part in the March.
Wow! The reception from the crowd as we approached was overwhelming. The response from spectators proves that Harm Reduction Victoria’s name and message is being noticed.
HRV’s contingent this year was small in size but big on great people, push bikes, a killer sound system pumping out great tunes, bright colours and of course the first appearance of our new friend, the mighty dragon. A big thank you to all who attended and helped yesterday and a special thanks to Sam, Carol and Jade for all your hard work.


HRV /Dance Wize at Pride March 2016 St Kilda

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You are invited to the opening of the Innerspace Tree Of Life Art Exhibition ! Please come along to celebrate and support  the local artists. The Opening is on Friday 5th February at 6pm at Collingwood Gallery 292 Smith St Collingwood , drinks and nibblies are provided. The exhibition theme is Tree of Life , flier is attached to circulate freely. There will be a wide variety of inspiring art, jewellery, sculpture and paintings on display.We are all looking forward to seeing some friendly faces from the local community there.

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Dear Esteemed Members, Unfortunately the March 10, 2016 Bloody Serious Facts- a hep c specific workshop– has now been SOLD OUT.  Registrations for the June 15th workshop will be available through the Harm Reduction Victoria website link from March 10th 2016.

For more detailed information or to register, click here. For any more information, please contact Gab 03-9288 3586 or Sam 03-9329 1500

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Pride title 2016

Midsumma 2016At 12 Noon on Sunday the 31st of Jan, HRV will be participating in the Midsumma Festival Pride March to reveal to the world our deliciously flamboyant side, whilst celebrating the 21st anniversary of this brave and historic event. We urge all our members, friends and networks to join us on the day to maximize HRV’s continued dedication to our wonderfully diverse and gorgeously colourful community. The official kick off for the parade is 12 noon, but HRV meeting times will be posted during the week via social media; both HRV & Dance-Wize. Please feel free to message any questions you may have regarding HRV’s participation in the event.  Also, if you havent already done so, cruise on over to the webpages for all Midsumma program listings. It’s gonna be one delightful summaz day and we can’t wait for the fun to begin! Yay!


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Whack 34 coming soon!

whack34Whacks back! 
All 4000 copies are back from the printers, with that newly printed scent, & ready to be sent out to y’alll. For anyone who cant get their hot little hands on a physical copy, we will upload the interweb version really soon- all in glorious technicolour!

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        HRV on FaceBook      HRVonTwitter

© Harm Reduction Victoria 2016