Nuns to run first heroin injecting room
Christopher Zinn, Sydney
Nuns who run one of Australia's best known hospitals are to operate the country's first legal and medically supervised heroin injecting room after a radical overhaul of the drug laws in New South Wales. The 18 month trial will be administered by the Sisters of Charity, who also run Sydney's inner city St Vincent's Hospital.
An estimated 50000 visits a year by drug users are expected at the centre, which will be staffed by a medical supervisor, a registered nurse, and security staff. The controversial plan will include the provision of clean needles and syringes; users must supply their own drugs. They will be encouraged to seek counselling and treatment for their habit. Dr Tina Clifton, the chief executive of the Sisters of Charity Health Service, said that the scheme supports the sisters' commitment to the preservation of life by moving drug taking from the streets and into a safe