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You Talk, We Die : the battle for Victoria's first safe injecting facility - Judy Ryan

You Talk, We Die

the battle for Victoria's first safe injecting facility

By: Judy Ryan

Paperback | 31 January 2023

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'They should do something,' I groaned. Then a frightening prospect - they might be me! What the hell could I do?

In July 2016, inner-city resident Judy Ryan found a young man - one of 'her regulars' - slumped and quiet at her gate. He had overdosed from heroin. Fortunately, that man lived. But Judy had reached breaking point. After four years in a 'war zone', where children might encounter a body on the streets, enough was enough.

Knowing little about what she was getting into, but fired with resolve, Judy launched a grassroots campaign against apathy and prejudice. While the residents fought for their neighbourhood and for the right of those suffering from addiction to be treated with the needed care and respect, they would see three coroners' reports, two elections, a private member's bill, the police finally acknowledging that arresting their way out of the problem didn't work, and more unnecessary deaths before the trial of a safe injecting facility was legislated.

A story of drugs, addiction, and a health crisis that touches people from all walks of life, You Talk, We Die is also a highly personal yet practical account of how an authentic local voice and an inclusive campaign can change the minds of business and political leaders to improve the lives of everyone in a community.


About the Author

After raising her family in regional Victoria, Judy Ryan relocated to inner-city Melbourne in 2012. Judy accidentally became immersed in Melbourne's deadly heroin crisis, and in 2016 launched what ultimately became a successful residents' campaign for a supervised injecting facility in Richmond. Judy has since stood as a candidate in the three levels of government in Australia- as an independent candidate in the City of Yarra in the 2016 local government election; as the Reason Party candidate in the Victorian state electorate of Richmond in 2018; and as the Reason Party candidate in the federal electorate of Melbourne in 2019.
Industry Reviews
'Anyone who cares about humanity should read this inspiring story.' -Johann Hari

'You Talk, We Die is Ryan's impassioned and unfiltered retelling of how she mobilised the community and people of influence - medical experts, politicians, journalists - to finally recognise drug use in Richmond as a health issue and not a criminal one ... a frank and moving account of how the grassroots campaigning of compassionate residents led to a necessary intervention in a public health crisis so often misunderstood.' -Nathan Smith, Books+Publishing

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