Hi Bianca! Can you please tell us a little bit about your PhD topic?

Australia’s second medically supervised injecting room (MSIR), located in Melbourne’s North Richmond, has recently been reviewed for the second time. Both reviews found four of six legislated objectives satisfied and according to these findings, the objectives related to publicly discarded needle/syringe and improved level of public amenity had not been met.

However, there is limited and conflicting evidence supporting the findings. Therefore, I am exploring the actual and perceived level of general and drug-related public amenity in the area surrounding the North Richmond MSIR over time.


How is your research going to make health and wellbeing easier for everyone to achieve?

Regardless of there being over 150 safe injecting facilities (SIF) operating largely supported and uncontested globally, there seems consistent public and political opposition in areas in Victoria where SIFs are proposed or established particularly concerning public amenity and location.

SIFs are a crucial harm reduction response for people who inject drugs, however, public concern can be a barrier to their implementation. Despite the majority of SIFs focusing on better health outcomes, evidence show us that public amenity is an important political policy driver. It is crucial that not only drug-related amenity, but general public amenity, be explored to understand public health and public amenity impacts in the North Richmond area to further support the establishment of these evidence-informed facilities.


What inspired you to undertake this research?

I have always been an advocate for harm reduction policies and equity in health. Throughout out my Public Health and Health Promotion degree at Deakin my focus was on better health outcomes for populations experiencing vulnerability and marginalisation including my honours year which produced a media analysis focusing on the “drug problem” and the North Richmond MSIR. I have a keen interest in the factors that influence policies that allow for harm reduction responses for people who inject drugs and when the opportunity arose to investigate levels of public amenity in the area surrounding the MSIR, I jumped at it!


If you could recommend one book for everyone at IHT to read, what would that be?

“You talk, we die” by Judy Ryan.

A well-written and inspiring account of the fight to establish Australia’s second SIF by a local resident who spear-headed the crusade. A must read for anyone with even the slightest interest in harm reduction.


What is your favourite podcast? (Apart from the IHT podcast, of course!)

Crackdown – A Vancouver based peer produced podcast about drugs and drug policy


You’ve got a Saturday afternoon completely to yourself, what would we find you doing?

Hitting the local cinema with a feature-length glass of something delicious!


And finally, what is the best lesson you have learned so far during your PhD completion?

To start your confirmation document early and make time to read, read, read.