10 May 2017

Labour Party Senator, Aodhán Ó Ríordáin has welcomed the passage of the Misuse of Drugs 2017 Bill, as an ‘historic day’ for drug policy in Ireland.

Senator Ó Ríordáin first received Cabinet support for the legislation as Minister for State with Responsibility for Drugs, in December 2015.

Senator Ó Ríordáin commented:

“Today is an historic day for drug policy in Ireland with the passing of this Supervised Injecting Facilities Bill.

“When I was appointed as Minister of State for National Drug Strategy by Joan Burton in 2015, my first act was to publicly back the introduction of medically supervised injection centres into Ireland.

“Working closely with the Ana Liffey project, and with support from the Bar Council of Ireland, we got Cabinet approval for this legislation in December 2015. Today is the final act in a long process, which will ultimately save peoples’ lives.

“Injecting facilitates internationally have proven to prevent fatal overdoses and greatly reduce blood borne infections- such as HIV and Hepatitis C. Noone deserves to die on the streets of our capital city, and the introduction of these centres will put humanity back at the heart of our drug policy.

“Last week it was reported that according to emergency services, on discovering a dead body in a public park in Dublin, that victim was referred to as ‘just another junkie’. It is time for Irish society to move away from that disgusting term and refocus on the human tragedy of addiction.

“I want to pay tribute to the hard work of Drugs Taskforces and national projects such as Ana Liffey for their work on this over the years. Their input on this idea made the legislation a reality.

“The passing of this legislation with cross-party support shows we are maturing as a nation in terms of drug-law.

“A medically supervised injecting centre is not the answer to the drug problem, but could form part of a suite of harm reduction measures, as a way of managing the problem.

“Those who need these services deserve humane and compassionate treatment. If someone is crippled by addiction they deserve the care and compassion of this state. This new law will provide for that.

“I look forward to bringing forward legislation with my colleague, Senator Lynn Ruane, at the end of the month, to decriminalise the drug user.”


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