Injection Centres Vital to Save Lives

23 January 2024

Labour’s Justice Spokesperson Aodhán Ó Ríordáin TD, has cautiously welcomed news that a medically supervised drug injection facility is set to open in Ireland.

Deputy Ó Ríordáin said:

“As we welcome the opening of the medically supervised drug injection facility in Ireland, it is crucial to emphasise that injection centres are a proven way to reduce drug-related deaths. Labour has been consistently advocating for supervised injection centres as part of a comprehensive harm reduction strategy, which is why I brought this to Cabinet in 2015. It is frustrating that the conservative coalition has taken this long to act, especially in the face of recent spikes in overdose numbers, underscoring our ill-equipped approach to address addiction effectively.

“The Tánaiste needs to wise up after his comments on injection centres yesterday, this is already law and Government can no longer bury their heads in the sand. The delay in implementing these harm reduction measures has real consequences for those struggling with addiction. We know that injection centres not only save lives but also provide humane and compassionate treatment to those who need it most. It is disheartening that this essential step towards harm reduction has been delayed for so long, contributing to the challenges we face in appropriately assisting those in need.

“Furthermore, injection centres play a crucial role in halting the spread of Hepatitis C and HIV, cleaning up our streets from drug litter, and allowing users to take their first steps into a compassionate setting that may lead them toward a path of recovery. The constant concern about discarded needles and open drug taking in our communities highlights the pressing need for these supervised facilities.

“It’s essential to recognise that injection centres have been successfully implemented across Europe, with 80 such facilities demonstrating a notable absence of fatal overdoses. Perhaps it’s time to consider renaming them as Overdose Prevention Centres, reflecting their primary function in preventing tragic outcomes associated with substance use.

“The opening of this medically supervised drug injection facility should mark the first step towards a comprehensive Harm Reduction model in Ireland. We urge Government to view this as a pivotal moment and expedite the introduction of decriminalisation measures. By embracing harm reduction strategies, we can not only save lives but also foster a more compassionate and effective approach to addressing addiction in our society. It’s time for a proactive and urgent response to ensure the well-being of our communities and provide the support that individuals struggling with addiction truly deserve.”

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