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Home > Dail Eireann debate. Written answers 406, 407 & 408 - Drug rehabilitation clinics (injecting centres) [27535/15, 27536/15, 27537/15].

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Written answers 406, 407 & 408 - Drug rehabilitation clinics (injecting centres) [27535/15, 27536/15, 27537/15]. (07 Jul 2015)

URL: http://oireachtasdebates.oireachtas.ie/Debates%20A...


406. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Health following the appointment of a Minister of State with responsibility for drugs and the current increase in cases of human immunodeficiency virus among intravenous drug users, if he will reconsider his position on the reported potential positive impact of medically supervised injection centres (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27535/15]

 

407. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Health if he is aware of the draft health (injecting centres) Bill 2015 devised by the Ana Liffey Drug Project and the supporting documentation; his views on the Bill; if the Bill or similar legislation will be introduced before the Houses of the Oireachtas; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27536/15]

 

408. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Health the collaboration taking place with the Department of Justice and Equality (details supplied) in relation to legislation and proposals for the introduction of medically supervised injecting centres in view of the reported success of such centres in Sydney, Australia, and in Portugal in reducing the numbers contracting human immunodeficiency syndrome, the number of ambulance call-outs for overdoses and the improvement of health in intravenous drug users; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27537/15]

 

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Aodhán Ó Ríordáin): I propose to take Questions Nos. 406 to 408, inclusive, together.

 

Government policy in relation to drugs emphasises the importance of providing the opportunities for people to move on from illicit drug use, through drug treatment and rehabilitation, to a drug-free life where that is achievable. The provision of harm reduction measures, such as needle and syringe programmes and methadone maintenance treatment, reduce drug-related harm and facilitate recovery by providing a pathway into services. However, there is a problem with street injecting in Dublin and elsewhere. This creates a public nuisance and is unhygienic and unsafe for drug users.

 

Medically supervised injecting facilities exist in a number of other countries, and have been suggested as a response to the problem of street injecting in this country. I have received a copy of the draft Health (Injecting Centres) Bill 2015 and supporting documentation, which would allow for the provision of such services. I have asked my officials to examine the matter, and I understand that they have been in contact with Department of Justice and Equality officials as part of this process. It should be noted that a change to existing legislation would be required to facilitate introduction of these facilities.

 

I am advised that the HSE is investigating a rise in the number of new cases of recently acquired HIV in persons who inject drugs in the first quarter of 2015.

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