Role for Medically Supervised Centres discussed in combatting problems of drug abuse- Ó Caoláin
Sinn Féin health spokesperson Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin today chaired a session of the Think Tank on the National Drug Problem in the Mansion House, entitled “The Viability of Medically Supervised Injecting Rooms in an Irish Context”.
Deputy O Caoláin said:
“I have previously stated that I welcomed the announcement by Minister for Drugs Aodhán Ó Ríordáin that he would seek to evaluate and address the introduction of injection centres for addicts.
“Medically supervised injecting centres are professionally supervised healthcare facilities where drug injection occurs in a health service under the supervision of registered nurses and counsellors/drug workers. Their aim is to reduce morbidity and mortality associated with drug use, in particular those using drugs on the streets, and they link drug users with social, health and drug treatment services.
“Today’s session included a presentation by Marcus Keane of the Ana Liffey Drugs Project. I have also met personally with representatives of this project and I was again impressed by the points raised. If injecting centres have a valuable role to play in combating ill-health issues and the many social problems that arise from drug use, then I believe that they may well have an important contribution to make. I feel we must all be open to discussing the proposition, its benefits and downsides, and ultimately make an informed decision based on all the facts.
“I welcome and encourage the discussion around creating such centres. The alternative is sadly a continuation of the current dangers and problems that we are all too familiar with, especially on the streets of our capital and in other large urban centres. These include the dangers of carelessly disposed needles and the health risks of injection in non-clinical settings. I commend the Minister for arranging this Think Tank and I look forward to seeing what proposals will be brought to Government. I wish to also commend Ardmhéara Átha Cliath Councillor Críona Ní Dhálaigh for hosting today’s proceedings.”