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First Irish drug injecting centre planned for Dublin

Changes to the law would be necessary, but it’s hoped draft legislation will be ready to present to the Minister for Health next year.

Image: Shutterstock/Paket via Shutterstock

PLANS ARE BEING drawn up for the first ever medically-supervised drug injection centre in Ireland.

The Ana Liffey Drug Project is working on the proposal, and hopes to present draft legislation on the issue to Minister for Health Leo Varadkar next year.

“This is new to Ireland, but it has worked elsewhere in the world. There are more than 90 centres like this,” Ana Liffey Director Tony Duffin told TheJournal.ie. 

“What we’re talking about here is addressing public injecting.

Dublin has got a very serious issue with public injecting. At some stage, over any given weekend, all of the alleyways around Dublin are being used for public injecting.

The pro bono Voluntary Assistance Scheme at the Bar Council of Ireland is currently working on the planned legislation changes. Currently, the Misuse of Drugs Act means it would be illegal to run such a centre.

“People consider this a contentious issue, but the services do exist in mainland Europe,” Duffin said.

The Ana Liffey Director described injection centres as a “very successful intervention”

Not only do they contribute to reducing public injecting and unsafe disposal, they also help people attending to tackle their addictions through dedicated access to treatment programmes.

The organisation, which works with over 2,500 people affected by addition problems in Ireland each year, is also seeking support for a ‘residential stabilisation service’ providing treatment to drug users and helping them stay off the streets.

“It would be Ireland’s first residential stabilisation service of its kind for people with addiction problems — providing the direct access, medical stabilisation, clinical assistance and mental health care that these people need as they present to the service,” Duffin said.

With a suitable property, it’s planned 20 people at a time could be accommodated at the centre, which would cost around €1.5 million to run.

“Drug use has changed. There is more and more poly-drug use and an increasing number of complex cases. We need to accept, as a society, that it is not realistic to expect to be able to stop all drugs entering the country, or to be able to eliminate problem drug use.”

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