Government to announce location for first supervised injection centre

The proposed is likely to require planning permission before the centre can come online

Government to announce location for first supervised injection centre

A health authority staff member showcases a syringe disposal box at a newly-opened supervised injection site in Surrey, Canada, 06-06-2017. Image: Liang Sen/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

After months of delays, the Government is set to announce its proposed location for the country’s first supervised injection centre.

The plan was approved by the Dáil in March – and it was originally hoped it would be up and running by the end of 2017.

It was delayed however, when Dublin City Council ruled that planning permission would be required before any of its own properties could be re-purposed for on-site drug taking.

This morning the Minister of State for Drug Strategy, Catherine Byrne told Newstalk that she now expects to announce a proposed location for the first pilot facility in Dublin city Centre by Friday at the latest.

“I am hoping by next week that we will have the decision on where it is going to be located and it will be announced then,” she said.

“We will try and move along as quickly as we can.

“There are still concerns that planning permission may be needed and that is something further that we will have to look into but we will cross that barrier when we get there.”

The plan aims to take drug use off the streets and provide a safe medical environment for users.

After the legislation passed through the Seanad, the Department of Health said the facilities would provide access to clean, sterile injecting equipment and have trained staff on hand to provide emergency care in the event of an overdose, as well as advice on treatment and rehabilitation.”

It said the centres would also “help alleviate the problems associated with injecting on the street, including drug-related litter.”

She said the Government still remains hopeful that planning permission will not be necessary – but admitted that if it is deemed a requirement, the process will take a minimum of 12 weeks.

“After that it depends on those people who are thinking of objecting whether they want to bring it further.

“It could end up with An Bord Pleanála but we are hoping it won’t go that far.”

Almost 80 official drug consumption facilities currently operate in seven EMCDDA (European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction) reporting countries.

There are also 12 facilities in Switzerland.

The government has warned that possession of controlled drugs will remain an offence outside the injecting facilities – while possession for sale or supply will remain an offence both inside and outside.