Archive for May, 2009

Background to Kings Cross

Posted in Kings Cross on May 29, 2009 by samanthaauciello

The iconic Coca Cola sign

The iconic Coca Cola sign

A bit on the background of Kings Cross

Kings Cross the traditional heartland of Australia’s counter culture and underworld. It has stood as the front runner as Australia’s red light disctrict for many years but recently, ‘The Cross’ has cleaned its act up with many of Sydney’s other areas now taking the lead as the cities dangerous town.

As well as Kings Cross’s noteriety of being the countries most infamous red light district the suburb also remains the centre for Australia’s bohemian counter culture. Which saw the suburb flourish in the 1960’s.

With this however brought large corruption to Kings Cross. Some of Sydneys most notorius crime boss’s have originated in Kings Cross such as Abe Saffron aka “Mr Sin” aka “the boss of Kings Cross.” The area saw a huge rise in crime and police corruption and a massive increase in heroin use.

From the late 20th century the suburbs main problem was drug related crimes. Nsw government however in 2001 took a stance against Heroin abuse and created the worlds first safe Medically supervised injection room. This lead to a decrease in overdoses and muc less needles on the streets of Kigs Cross.

21st Century Kings Cross is different to the older Kings Cross. Although the suburb still has many nightspots, and Strip Clubs the area has seen an increase in people with aflluent background moving in, thus substantially changing the atmosphere of the area. Finally presently in Sydney it has been noted that they city is in a “Heroin Drought” and whilst Heroin abuse is becoming less of a social issue the issue of alcohol abuse is becoming more prominent in the suburb that never sleeps.

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Article: From Nightclubs to Injection Centres: The Real Kings Cross

Posted in Heroin Injection site on May 28, 2009 by samanthaauciello
The Front of the Injection Centre

Walking through Kings Cross at around 11 am the reality of the area became clear to me. At night “the cross” is full of life, it exciting, bright and a fun place to be, it’s the place where the youth of Sydney party under the neon iconic Coca Cola sign.

The Front of the Injection Centre

In the day the realities of the Cross is almost heartbreaking. The emptiness of the area is felt almost instantly as I walked out of Kings Cross station and onto Darlinghurst Street. The place I had known to be the life of Sydney was actually a place of great suffering and misery.

As I looked around the amount of drug users was shockingly present. All seemed to be roaming around the establishment that has caused significant talk and controversies amongst Australian society. The medically supervised safe injection room.

The site has been established since 2001 and every few years it is reviewed to see if it is worth keeping open. When considering its success Police officer at Kings Cross Gary Koshcel has stated that its his personal opinion that “Statistics would tell you if ask them that they would tell u it’s a raging success.”

He goes on to elaborate that he “cannot tell u the last person we put in here that was deceased that over dosed.”

A health care worker at the site who cannot be named has also stated that the site can be seen as a success because “it has also achieved keeping needles/syringes off the streets.” This statement is backed up in a recent article in Sydney Morning Herald where Pastor Graham Long states “In 10 years we’ve gone from finding 150 needles a day down to two.”

The injection rooms health care worker however also discusses criticisms of the site; many people believe it is making Heroin decriminalizing Heroin, however it is only decrinialized to use in that governed area they do not supply Heroin to any people. Also in relation to people believing it promotes addiction where she states “It can be seen to be promoting addiction at the same time these people are going to use regardless if the centre is there or not we are giving these people a place to be safe”

With the site being regarded as a success the question remains will there be a need to open another site somewhere else in Sydney. But the health care worker has discussed that it can bring in more problems to the area regarding drug dealings. Officer Gary Koschels however believes that “Suburban availability is just as available as it would b at the cross” and “why would you come x if you can purchase within 10 minutes from your home.”

Profile: Safe Injection Centre Health Care Worker

Posted in Heroin Injection site on May 27, 2009 by samanthaauciello

This persons name cannot be revealed due to legal issues.

Tell me a bit about your job?

At injection centre I am health education officer during this time while I’m at work we make sure that people are given clean injecting paraphernalia e.g. needles, clean barrels, water and anything else that’s needed. When a client comes in to inject we make sure they are not going to over dose so we check their breathing…If there oxygen is dropping to a low level we give them Narcan.

How long have you been working there?

3 years in December so 2 and half years

Do you think the site has set out what it achieved to do? Would you call it a success or failure?

Can I have two answers? Success because it has reduced the amount overdose related deaths it has also achieved keeping needles/syringes off the streets. It has also kept a lot of users away from houses, people use to come in their front yard and inject they have got somewhere to go. Saved money for the government, the government doesn’t have to spend money on ambulances when someone drops because its 500 dollars every time an ambulance leaves a bay.

It also a failure the injection centre can also help their addictions grow.

There have been a large number of ice users reportedly going to the injection site about 8%, should a site specifically designed for ice be set up if so how would it be different?

If there was to be a different site for ice users I don’t see the benefit there is nothing that you can do with someone that has just injected ice you don’t know how they r going to react, so no benefit.

People who are against the injection site say it promotes addiction, what would you say to these comments?

It can be seen to be promoting addiction at the same time these people are going to use regardless if the centre is there or not we are giving these people a place to be safe …they don’t have to go to car parks and face being victims of violence, the centre is also discreet.

Some of the challenges of the injection room?

Seeing people coming in numerous times a day. Users who as soon as they turn 18 and have had a really long time using and not being able to send them through to get a referral.  We tend to deal with a lot of the homeless population who have a lot mental health issues and it is really difficult to try and engage mental health services they will say it’s not our problem it’s a drug problem, they won’t touch them with a ten foot pole.

Do you think the site assists patients in long term recovery?

If they utilise the referrals yes, if they just come in to inject no, that’s not the purpose of that place.

Would you recommend the opening of further supervised injections rooms around Sydney, if so what areas?

If you were to open another one it can draw negative attention to the area it can also draw in more drug dealing in that area but then in saying that the place does do a good job, that’s a tough one, I think we should just keep the one that we’ve got it’s too early, are you creating more havoc in another suburb?

Article: Prostitution: The Street or Brothels?

Posted in Prostitution on May 26, 2009 by samanthaauciello

The decriminalization of prostitution has been a much controversial move amongst many Australians however are women more protected in legalized brothels.

Australia; one of the world’s most liberal countries in regards to prostitution. In states such as New South Wales street prostitution and brothels are deemed legal under the Summary Offenses Act 1988.

The heartland of New South Wales brothels and street prostitution lies in the central Sydney suburb of Kings Cross.

Sexual health expert has stated that the legalization of brothels is a “good move because the profession is a profession that has happened for many years and because it’s going to happen anyway at least it can happen in a safe environment and can be regulated and women are then exposed to less abuse as they would because they are protected within legalized brothels. They offer a safer environment in being on the streets, there are still risk factors. It’s still not a completely safe environment.”

Sydney brothel manager Tiffany’s girls reaffirms that they offer a safe environment for workers.

If this is so how come there is still much hesitation towards the legalization. The answer is because many people still feel that there are still much too many risks working in brothels. How safe is a worker in brothels?

Prostitutes in general a sexual health worker says often have a very troubled life, she states “Many of these women have already had a history of childhood abuse they are often very dis empowered women and are also involved in drugs and alcohol. They are involved in prostitution to supplement their abuse.”

In a question of whether women are indeed safer in brothels then on the streets the answer seems to be yes. As many women working the streets would often face the risks of being “exposed to significant violence” and having “less protection in general” says the sexual health expert.

Tiffany’s Girl’s manager has stated in regards to support from local governments that “we have always had the support from the government.”

While the move is deemed controversial the reality is that a woman is more protected in a legalized brothel then alone on a street.

There is however a lack of support for women who want to change their lives around. Although the governments support safe brothels one would think that they would want to do their all to support women being even safer.

Prostitutes on the Street

Prostitutes on the Street

Profile: Social Worker in the Department of Health

Posted in Prostitution on May 25, 2009 by samanthaauciello

This person cannot be named due to legal reasons.

Tell me a bit about your job?

Social worker employed by the department of health working in the area of women’s health and sexual health. Many of the clients I work with are involved in prostitution and have a history of drug and alcohol abuse. I also work in the area of sexual health including clients who have been diagnosed with HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.

The opening of legal brothels in your personal opinion is it a good move or bad by state governments.

I think it’s a  good move because the profession is a profession that has happened for many years and because it’s going to happen anyway at least it can happen in a safe environment and can be regulated and women are then exposed to less abuse as they would because they are protected within legalised brothels. They offer a safer environment in being on the streets, there are still risk factors. It’s still not a completely safe environment but it can be regulated and women are then exposed to less abuse as they would be protected within legalised brothels.

What are some of the issues faced by prostitutes?

Many of these women have already had a history of childhood abuse they are often very disempowered women and are also involved in drugs and alcohol and are involved in prostitution to supplement their abuse. Many of these women are also involve in abusive relationships and can at times be encouraged by their partner into prostitution to supplement their drug and alcohol abuse. I come across many women who have also had babies; some of these women are often mothers.

What are the dangers on the streets for prostitutes?

Women exposed to significant violence, less protection in general.

Do you think there are enough programs set up to assist women who wish to stop?

There are a lot of services out there with health and non government organizations, however many of the issues that brought women into prostitution in the first place need to be addressed in order to address the dis empowerment that these women experiences, many of these women have histories of childhood abuse, drug ad alcohol backgrounds and other multi layered problems that have brought them into this proffesion in the firstplace. There are significant judgement and stigma applied to these women who already have very low self esteem anyway.

Profile: Police Officer in Kings Cross

Posted in Heroin Injection site on May 24, 2009 by samanthaauciello

This included shorter profile has been added because i found it gave me a great insight into a police officers role in Kings Cross.

Sargent Gary Koshcel guves his personal opinion on the Injection Site.

As a police officer you must know the streets of kings cross better then anyone would you say that since the opening of the injection site that there has been a significant drop in syringes in the streets?

I would have to say yes, bare in mind I wasn’t here in 2001 I arrived here in 2007 been here for 2 yrs having worked here previously in the 70s I would think on the street significant drop of drug affected people.

Do you think that the site has been a success?

Statistics would tell you if ask them that they would tell u it’s a raging success. market reduction in availability and supply, and the affect that u cant overdose the choice of drug they wish to inject has changed a lot, we have now gone into brown heroin, most people are ice injectors it has market impact , overdose reduce, I cannot tell u the last person we put in here that was deceased that over dosed.

Do you think the site has drawn in even more negative attention to kings cross and brought in further problems?

I’m not suggesting that there r more people coming here, I wouldn’t believe that to be a truthful answer, why would you come cross if you can purchase within 10 minutes from your home, people come to cross for the occasion and the availability to continually drink for 24/7. I think we are getting repeat users. Suburban availability is just as available as it would b at the Cross.

Article: Graffiti: the written voice of the oppressed?

Posted in Graffiti on May 23, 2009 by samanthaauciello
Graffiti in Kings Cross

Graffiti in Kings Cross

Graffiti, it has often been a part of Sydney Streets, although generally it is seen as illegal many more people are becoming more tolerant to the idea of graffiti.

More and more graffiti pieces are being recognized as art, and it is much believed that graffiti is a part of the underground Sydney society.

What should be asked is, are the councils cleaning up acts of vandalism or are they silencing those who already do not have a voice.

Whilst the Sydney City Council has spent alot of time and money dealing with Graffiti. Recent figures released on the Councils website states that:

During July 2007 – June 2008, the City removed 411,368 incidents of graffiti from the Local Government Area. This graffiti covered an area of almost 170,000m2.

The council also has strict policies on cleaning the Graffiti:

The City of Sydney recognises that quickly removing graffiti is an important step in improving the amenity of a neighbourhood. The visual impact of a clean wall is immediate and a tangible sign to residents that they live in a clean and safe neighbourhood.

The City of Sydney inspects graffiti ‘hotspots’ every 24 hours and removes graffiti within 24 hours of identification, or when consent from the building owner or resident is obtained.

The remainder of the Local Government Area is inspected every five days and graffiti removed within 24 hours of identification, or when consent from the building owner or resident is obtained.

However it is becoming more apparent that graffiti is becoming more tolerated amongst the public. When speaking to local Sydney city resident Ashleigh Malkik said about the graffiti in the streets “I like it, I think a lot of them (graffiti peices) are really creative.”

The OASIS centre for homeless teens use to have a designated graffiti wall set up for all the teens to cover the wall with their names and gave them a chance to be creative. It was recently painted over, a move that many people feel is damaging to the teens there. As many people feel that having their name on that wall was in some way their legacy, because otherwise they would not exist or be known.

Other cases of Graffiti that has gained considerable amounts of discussion is the Murel at Newtown of Aborginal rights with the words “I have a Dream” painted over an Aboriginal flag. Such graffiti works as these allow the oppressed of Australian societies to be noticed and to have their struggles recognised.

Although graffiti is still legally seen as an act of public vandalism, times are slowly changing where some of these works are seen as works of art and some are seen as works of protest, while others are seen as a mere way for the unknown to speak and to be remembered.

I have a Dream Murel at Newtown

I have a Dream Murel at Newtown