Home > Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 630 - National drugs strategy [Safe injecting] [49759/12].

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 630 - National drugs strategy [Safe injecting] [49759/12]. (13 Nov 2012)

External website: http://oireachtasdebates.oireachtas.ie/debates%20a...

630. Deputy Regina Doherty asked the Minister for Health the systems in place to provide supervised injection sites to ensure the adequate disposal of needles used to inject heroin in view of the fact that such a service would provide an access point to clean needles, reduce the overall harm to the user and treatment professionals and encourage users to undertake treatment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49759/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Alex White): In line with the Programme for Government and Action 34 of the National Drugs Strategy 2009-16, it is Government policy to expand the availability of needle exchange services. These services provide sterilised needles, syringes and associated injecting paraphernalia.
They also reduce the dangers posed by discarded needles through the strong emphasis on the exchange of used supplies for new. As well as the direct benefits of needle exchange services, they also bring injecting drug users into contact with health professionals thereby facilitating opportunities to avail of further treatment options.
Needle exchange services are broadly available in the Dublin area through the HSE and voluntary sector organisations. In the past year there has been significant improvement in the availability of needle exchange services outside Dublin through community pharmacies, HSE clinics and voluntary sector organisations. Currently 44 pharmacies are participating in the programme and this number will be increased substantially in the coming year.
It is not my intention to introduce supervised injection sites for heroin users. Rather my focus is on increasing needle exchange provision and also on increasing the emphasis on providing opportunities for people to move on from illicit drug use, through drug treatment and rehabilitation, to a drug-free life where that is achievable.
Dail Debate - Written Answers: Drug Treatment Programmes
Vol. 774 No. 5

Repository Staff Only: item control page