Words: Dray Morgan
Six years in the making, the first medically supervised injection centre is set to be open in a year’s time at Merchant’s Quay.
Following on from approval from Dublin City Council in January, Ireland’s first medically supervised injection facilities will now be developed. Set to be publically available by October 2024, the plan hopes to save lives by hosting safe injection facilities and resources for addiction.
In May 2017, President Michael D Higgins signed legislation to allow for these establishments to be built throughout the country. However, until now there has been no progress, taking over six years to create the first of its kind.
The facility will be run by charity Merchant’s Quay Ireland, a homelessness non-profit organisation. Chief Executive and former Governor of Mountjoy Prison, Eddie Mullins, insists that the project will “save lives”, once it becomes operational.
The purpose of the centre is to allow a safe space to inject clean needs and dispose of them safely. The centre will also have medical professionals on hand in case of an overdose or other medical emergencies on-site to combat drug-related deaths and overdoses which have been rapidly rising in the past decade.
Pushback from local communities and planning authorities has been the main reason that the project has been so heavily delayed. Next Monday, the Citizen’s Assembly on Drugs will bring forth their findings and recommendations to the government after their processes of public consultation.
Mullins also described his desire to deploy a set of Injection vans throughout the country to provide mobile facilities that the Merchant’s Quay Hub provides. However, this would require a further change to legislation.
Studies from other countries such as the US, Canada and Portugal show that injection centres can reduce ambulance callouts by 67%, a decrease in injection-related viruses and illnesses as well as a significant drop in overdoses and fatal overdoses.
Elsewhere on District: Citizens’ Assembly on drug use to be established