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Dublin: 2 °C Thursday 18 January, 2018

Ask The Expert: 'Every alley way in Dublin is used for public injecting at some point'

The Ana Liffey Drug Project’s director dropped in to the newsroom for a chat this afternoon.

HAVE YOU EVER walked through Dublin or another city in Ireland only to see drug users openly injecting on the streets?

The director of the Ana Liffey Drug Project, Tony Duffin, said it is not an uncommon sight:

“I would say every alley way in Dublin is used for public injecting at some point during the week – it really is that serious.”

But what’s the solution?

Duffin said it’s time Ireland looked at the positive results in other countries with opened medically-supervised injecting centres.

Dropping in to’s offices to take part in a livestream interview this afternoon in our semi-regular ‘ask the expert’ slot, a lot of drug-related issues were discussed:

For instance, we talked to Duffin about:

  • What we can learn from Sydney – who have had an injecting centre open for some years
  • Open injecting on the streets of Dublin
  • Where would injecting centres be located?
  • What legislation is needed? Is there political will?
  • The long-term use of methadone treatment
  • Homelessness and drug use being intertwined in many cases
Source: Video

Open drug injecting

Open drug injecting or needles disposed of in alleyways is something Duffin said would not be surprising to see in the city centre.

“If anyone uses the city, for any reason, whether they live, work or visit the city, it wouldn’t take much time to realise that Dublin has a very significant public injecting problem.”
All the stakeholders, the businesses, no body is happy about the situation…

Duffin said this isn’t a problem we can really solve, but said it is a problem that has to be managed.

Injecting centre services are used in 90 areas around the globe – and Ireland should be the next, he said.

Having visited a centre in Kings Cross in Sydney, he said the service has reduced the problem in the area and he found no public injecting in the surrounding locality.

Cuts to services

“It has been evaluated by nine different third parties and is working very well. We would like to do the same here.”

Duffin said that in the last five or six years, voluntary drugs services has been cut by up to 37%.

“Dublin, in particular, has a very significant problem with drugs.”

On a political level, there needs to be a willingness to invest on treatment and rehabilitation, he said.

“This is health issue, not a policing issue.”

Read: Peter McVerry says he’d be embarrassed if he was Alan Kelly>

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