Fianna Fáil TD and Spokesperson for National Drugs Strategy, Jack Chambers has welcomed the introduction of a supervised injection centre in the capital on a pilot basis and as proposed under the Misuse of Drugs Bill 2016.

The pre-legislative scrutiny on the general scheme of the Misuse of Drugs Bill 2016 (Supervised Injection Facilities) took place at committee stage earlier this afternoon.

Speaking following his attendance, Deputy Chambers said, “According to the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, Ireland has the highest proportion of intravenous heroin users in Europe and the rate of drug related deaths in Ireland is three times higher than the European average.

“A supervised injection centre must be a gateway to effective treatment, rehabilitation and intervention aimed at harm reduction for those suffering from addiction. This centre, if successful in tackling drug-related harm, has the potential to become a broader term viable public health measure which seeks to provide a safe and supervised space for people to deal with their addiction.

“A report released in May of this year by the EMCDDA found that while there is limited data surrounding the facilities effectiveness, available evidence suggests they have “an overall positive impact” on the communities where they exist.

“The efficacy of such a facility in Dublin remains to be determined but it is part of a national effort to address and prevent public injection, overdoses and dangerous littering of potentially infectious needles.

“The finer details surrounding the introduction of the injection centre must be clarified without delay. The centre and services on offer will need to be closely monitored and continually evaluated to ensure that is functioning effectively. Therefore, it is crucial to maintain a collaborative effort which requires the full co-operation of all stakeholders including the Gardaí.

“An injection centre is not the answer to Dublin’s drug problem, but it has the potential to be a part of the answer, where at the very least, individuals ravaged by addiction have the opportunity to retain some small piece of dignity while we work to try to help them beat this terrible addiction.”