On January 2nd, Sky News posted an article by David Blevins about the expected introduction of medically supervised injection centres in the Republic of Ireland.

The article follows up on a recent Sky News visit to Dublin.

The Irish capital has a serious drug problem. Sky News filmed people openly smoking heroin just off a main street. Others are publicly injecting it.

The piece cites Labour Minister with responsibility for drug strategy, Aodhán Ó Ríordáin and Tony Duffin, Director of the Ana Liffey Drug Project.

Tony Duffin in Dublin City Centre during VolteFace's tour.
Tony Duffin in Dublin City Centre during VolteFace’s tour.

Just before Christmas Duffin took VolteFace on a tour of some of Dublin’s public injecting locations. He highlighted the need for a space where drug users are safer from dying of overdoses and have access to clean needles. The visibility of public drug use was astonishing.

Syringe on the cobbles. Dublin City Centre, December 2015.
Syringe on the cobbles. Dublin City Centre, December 2015. (Photo credit: Dan Finnegan)

Minister Ó Ríordáin has been calling for a compassionate approach to Irelands drug problem for some time now. In late 2015 he visited the London School of Economics where he announced a shift in strategy for Ireland’s approach to tackling these issues. Sky News also spoke to the Minister:

Aodhan O Riordain TD, the junior minister with responsibility for Ireland’s national drugs strategy, wants a “humanitarian response”.

He said: “Why don’t we have an injecting centre, where you take people off the street into a warm, compassionate environment, medically supervised, to ensure people don’t overdose, that they inject more safely, more cleanly?”

These developments in Ireland have shocked many who have been following international drug policy reform movement – and the small country is set to keep making a big impression.

Read David Blevins’ article here and see our photo essay of our tour with Tony Duffin here. You can also read our behind the scenes article.

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