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Trial over: Vic to stick with drug-injecting facility

A Victorian drug-injecting facility will continue to operate indefinitely after a five-year trial divided locals in Melbourne's inner-east.

The Andrews government opened the supervised injecting room at North Richmond in June 2018 as part of a two-year trial, which was extended until mid-2023.

Legislation was introduced in state parliament on Tuesday for the facility to become a permanent service after a review found it managed almost 6000 overdoses and saved 63 lives.

There have been 50 heroin-related deaths in the local council area in the 42 months since the facility opened, down from 68 deaths during the preceding 42 months.

Premier Daniel Andrews said the facility, which has recorded 350,000 visits between June 2018 and September 2022, had changed and saved lives.

"We're not chasing a popular outcome here," he said.

The government will consider all 10 recommendations from an independent review, including expanding support for users and addressing safety and amenities.

But it has ruled out enacting a suggestion to expand eligibility to peer and partner injecting, allowing pregnant women to inject, and removing other barriers including to people on court orders.

The centre has become a contentious issue for nearby residents, as acknowledged by the 25-page report authored by public health researcher John Ryan.

Some people reported the area was quieter with no "constant code blues, dead bodies on the asphalt and kids watching injecting," but others said drug use remained visible.

"I walk my daughter to school (and) witness fights, brazen drug deals, drug use, drug-affected people," one community member said.

Judy Ryan, who led a residents' campaign to establish the injecting room, said it was common to find drug-affected people in laneways, carports and gardens before the centre opened.

"It was like living in a war zone. It was stressful and unacceptable," she said.

She acknowledged some residents would be displeased the facility would remain, but said people needed to understand it wasn't easy to stop using drugs.

A second facility has been earmarked for Melbourne's CBD, with the government awaiting a final report on the location.

Mr Andrews confirmed the report would be handed to the government by the middle of the year and it has bought a building in preparation.

The Greens welcomed the move to make North Richmond permanent but criticised the government for not following through on the recommendation to expand eligibility.

The North Richmond site, which is close to a primary school, will remain the same but the provider of the service could change as part of a tender process.

Opposition mental health spokeswoman Emma Kealy said the government had failed to listen to the concerns of residents.

"Kids should never have to walk to school and walk past a dead body, or somebody who's just injected, or see sex acts on their school grounds" she said.

Police Association Victoria secretary Wayne Gatt said it was "peculiar" the government was enshrining the facility in legislation despite unresolved issues, including its location.

Responses to issues stemming from the North Richmond site would rise "10 fold" for police if replicated at the proposed CBD site, he said.

"Our needs in the city are more complex. Our resources are more finite," he told 3AW radio.

The preferred health provider of the CBD service has called on the government to lock in the site, declaring drug use and overdoses in the city are showing no sign of decline.