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Home > Dail Eireann debate. Written Answers 415 - Drug treatment programmes policy [40010/14].

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Written Answers 415 - Drug treatment programmes policy [40010/14]. (21 Oct 2014)


415. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Health his position on the use of needle exchange programmes for certain drug users; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40010/14]

Minister for Health (Deputy Leo Varadkar): In line with the Programme for Government and Action 34 of the National Drugs Strategy 2009-2016, it is Government policy to expand the availability of needle exchange services. Such services greatly reduce the risk of the use of contaminated injecting equipment through providing sterilised needles, syringes and associated injecting items. 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 people into contact with other services and increase the possibilities for further engagement aimed at reducing heroin use.

In Dublin, needle exchange services are provided through HSE clinics and through voluntary sector providers. Needle exchange services outside Dublin have been expanded through the Pharmacy Needle Exchange Programme, with the target of recruiting and training 130 pharmacies achieved this year.

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