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'An example of how bad it can get': We counted 13 syringes down this tiny Dublin alleyway

The site shows that public injecting is still a major problem, a drug service worker said. / YouTube

DRUG LITTER IS nothing new in Dublin city centre – but this site, just off Abbey Street, is one of the worst we’ve seen recently.

Alongside dozens of wrappers from citric acid and saline water, which is used in the injecting process, there were at least thirteen syringes or partial syringes lying around the ground when visited yesterday morning.

Hoarding along the side of the alley had been torn down, and there was evidence that people had been sleeping rough and injecting drugs in a small patch of waste ground off Abbey Cottages – a laneway close to the Jervis Luas stop.

Tony Duffin of the Ana Liffey Drug Project, a support service that works with drug users in the city, said it was an example of how bad the problem of public injecting can get in Dublin.

“All that paraphernalia that you’ve seen there indicates that many people have been down there in the last 48 hours or so, injecting themselves,” Duffin said.

Every time someone injects themselves and hides themselves away they risk fatal overdose. There’s a heightened risk of blood-borne viruses. There’s an increased risk of infection and vein damage.

The scene on the laneway was “very, very bad”, Duffin said – although he’s also witnessed similar levels of drug litter at other locations recently, including at Parnell Square and at the Four Courts.

needle Daragh Brophy / Daragh Brophy / /

The site showed that public injecting was still a major problem and highlighted the need for a supervised injecting centre in the city, he said.

After years of lobbying by the Ana Liffey group and others, legislation to set up a pilot injecting centre was passed by the Oireachtas last month.

“For our part it was five years, three months and 27 days of lobbying to see the supervised injecting facilities legislation enacted. Many people worked on this – sharing their knowledge, skills and expertise along the way.

We all need the pilot supervised injecting facility implemented in Dublin as a matter of urgency.

Supervised injecting centres, which provide sterile injecting equipment and are overseen by medical staff, have been set up in other countries. Their proponents argue that they help stem the spread of blood-borne diseases, cut down on overdose deaths, and get people into a system where they can seek treatment options.

It’s hoped that associated problems, like dangerous drug litter, would be alleviated by the establishment of the first Irish centre.

Read: “You wonder – why are you on the street?”: Pat Kenny spent a night examining the homelessness crisis >

Read: The needles on the cobbles are nothing new – but the human excrement is shocking >

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