Soon, Dublin Will Help Heroin Users Shoot Up

Gov't wants to treat substance abuse as public health issue, not a criminal one
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 3, 2015 11:10 AM CST
Soon, Dublin Will Help Heroin Users Shoot Up
Used needles are shown in this file photo.   (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

Starting in 2016 in Dublin, heroin users will be able to head to a new injection center and shoot up "in a safe, secure, passionate environment" without risk of being arrested, Aodhan O'Riordain, Ireland's drug czar, tells AFP. Patrons will need to bring their own drugs and paraphernalia, but they'll be "provided with a medically supervised space," he says. "It will limit the dangers of contracting HIV and hepatitis C and also takes away the street injecting phenomenon." O'Riordain adds, per the Irish Times, these centers won't turn into a drug-addled "free-for-all"—they're "clinically controlled environments which aim to engage hard-to-reach [drug addict] populations" like the homeless.

The initiative, which the government hopes will eventually include other centers, is modeled after similar programs in Europe and Australia, designed to shift thinking of substance abuse from a criminal issue to a public health one. "We're trying to change the entire context in which we discuss this issue from a moralistic one to one which is actually much more realistic and compassionate," O'Riordain notes. (This take doesn't think injection centers are the answer.)

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