The Misuse of Drugs (Supervised Injecting Facilities) Bill 2017 which will allow the Minister for Health to issue a licence, with conditions, to operate Ireland’s first supervised injecting facility has passed through all stages in the Oireachtas.
A supervised injecting facility is a controlled environment where drug users may self-administer, by injection, drugs they have brought with them.
Such facilities will 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. They will also help alleviate the problems associated with injecting on the street, including drug-related litter.
Health Minister, Simon Harris said “This Bill is a progressive step founded on a health-led, evidence-based approach to drug use and countering the effect that it has on drug users and our communities. All the international evidence shows that supervised injecting facilities have a positive impact for both.
The Bill does not establish a location for a supervised injecting facility, but a pilot facility is planned for Dublin city centre. The HSE has established a working group to gather data, consider possible options and to undertake consultation before any decision on a location is made.
Possession of controlled drugs will continue to be an offence outside a supervised injecting facility. Possession for sale or supply will remain an offence both inside and outside a supervised injecting facility.