DUBLIN CITY COUNCIL has placed specially-designed syringe disposal bins in two locations close to the city centre as part of a pilot scheme.
The bins, which display biological hazard signs, are in areas where drug litter has been reported to be a serious problem.
It’s believed to be the only such outdoor scheme in the UK and Ireland.
Dublin City Council put these first bins in place last month without any public announcement.
Their locations aren’t being published online: the idea is that people who inject drugs publicly will know where they are and will have an opportunity to dispose of their paraphernalia (you’ll probably be able to figure out at least one location here from the photos: it’s not a State secret or anything, but the team behind the pilot project would rather the specific spots weren’t mentioned).
Businesses and residents of the city have long complained about alleys and laneways littered with syringes. Tony Duffin of the Ana Liffey Drug Project, who has been campaigning for a safe supervised injection centre, estimates that every lane in Dublin is used for public injecting at some point each week.
Workers at an office building next to one of the bin sites had complained about used needles and other drug waste littering pathways as they arrived for work.
“I wholeheartedly commend Dublin City Council for taking this innovative practical approach to the issue of drug related litter,” Duffin said.
“Dublin has a well-documented problem with the public injecting of drugs.
Providing sharps bins in the public domain is just one of a range of proven interventions for reducing drug-related litter.
HIV and other blood-borne viruses spread among injecting drug users in part because of unsafe injecting behaviour, research has shown.
There was a surge in HIV cases in the city last year – thought, in part, to be due to the increasing popularity of the former head shop drug known as ‘Snow Blow’.
Similar bins have been used in other cities – there are around 470 of them in Melbourne, for instance, while a study of a bin programme in Montreal showed it to be highly effective in reducing drug litter.
While this is the first outdoor placing of drug bins here, they’ve already been used in public toilets in Ireland: in 2013, it was found that the introduction of the special bins had seen a 90% reduction in drug paraphernalia in Cork’s only public toilets.
The two locations will be monitored every day and the pilot scheme’s success will be reviewed at the end of March.
What do you think of the pilot project?