Friday 23 February 2018

HSE issues tender for first supervised injecting centre for drug addicts

The centre will be run in Merchant's Quay. Stock photo: Getty
The centre will be run in Merchant's Quay. Stock photo: Getty
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

The HSE has issued a tender to find an organisation to run the country’s first supervised injecting centre for drug addicts in Dublin city centre.

The controversial centre will be run on a pilot basis for 18 months with an evaluation after six months.

The HSE said today the centre will provide a clean and safe healthcare environment where people can inject drugs, obtained elsewhere, under the supervision of trained health professionals.

Part of the tender includes the setting up of a community liaison post to work with the local community living near the centre.

The HSE said these centres offer a "compassionate, person-centred service which reduces the harms associated with injecting drug use and can help people access appropriate services."

It will help health service staff to reach and support vulnerable and marginalised people who often do not, cannot or no longer engage with existing health services. 

"Typically, supervised injecting facilities provide people who use drugs with sterile injecting equipment; counselling services before and after drug consumption; emergency response in the event of overdose; and primary medical care."

The supervised injecting facility aims to:

• reduce drug-related overdose deaths

• reduce the risks of disease transmission through shared needles

• reduce public health risks such as needle-stick injuries and

• connect the most vulnerable and marginalised people who use drugs with treatment services and other health and social services.

Dr. Eamon Keenan of HSE National Addiction Lead said:”A supervised injecting facility (SIF) is an important health service aimed at reducing drug related overdose deaths and will connect adults who inject drugs with the wider health and social services to help improve their lives.

"The facilities typically consist of a reception area, a drug consumption area and a recovery area. The exterior of a SIF looks like any other health or social care premises. There are over 90 of these types of facilities across the world in Europe, Canada and Australia.

"From research that has been carried out in these countries there is clear evidence of the benefits that such services can provide both for people who use drugs and the wider society.

"The research also indicates that these types of facilities do not encourage drug use, delay treatment entry or aggravate problems associated with local drug markets."

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