Hundreds of Aussies die from heroin overdoses every year. In Victoria the total is 190 from 2016, and 35 of those deaths occurred around one street alone. Victoria Street, Richmond.
Now, Yarra City Council has voted to honour those victims of drug overdoses, by building a public monument. The announcement hasn't come without widespread criticism.
The objections are coming from far and wide. Many argue the money (part of a $400,000 intersection revamp) should be better spent on local support services. Others have argued it's wrong to memorialise the overdose deaths, because taking heroin is an illegal activity. Some fear it might even glorify the drug problem, and draw more users to the area.
Research from the National Drug & Alcohol Research Centre says victims of overdose are predominately single, unemployed men aged in their late 20s and early 30s, with a long history of heroin dependence.
The same part of Melbourne has long been in the spotlight, with locals lobbying the Andrews Government for a safe injecting room. Locals and loved ones of victims will now rally at the end of August, renewing their push for safe injecting facilities, in a bid to save lives.