Likely location of first supervised injection centre in Ireland revealed
The Government has given the green light to 'medically supervised' injection centres for drug users in Dublin.
The new laws will allow drug users to inject illegal substances such as heroin and cocaine under the close eye of nurses and doctors.
It is believed that the centres will be set up in Dublin city centre with the first one most likely to be located in Merchants Quay in the drug rehabilitation centre.
The move is aimed at reducing overdoses and death from infectious diseases as a result of sharing needles.
Speaking to the The Herald, Labour Minister for Drugs, Aodhán Ó 'Ríordáin said he was delighted that the legislation got the green light.
'Business owners are tired of sweeping up syringes and worried about the image Dublin has among tourists who see open drug use on our streets and that's why they have advocated for a model which will help clean up our streets,' he said.
However, a Government official said there will be 'considerable lead-in time' before a pilot centre is open and the city may not see one until 2017.
Mr Ó 'Ríordáin said the facilities will reduce and alleviate some of the "complex needs of a vulnerable and hard to reach group of addicts.
"They are not the only solution to addressing drug addiction but will play a significant role in reducing street injecting and drug related deaths," he said.
"Research published by the Health Research Board today demonstrated quite clearly that 387 people died in 2013 due to drug poisoning and one in five of these deaths was caused by heroin use.
The establishment of supervised injecting facilities will allow for earlier medical intervention in the case of overdoses"
Under the new laws, staff in the centres cannot help addicts inject but will supervisor them and offer advice on how to recover from addiction.