herald

Saturday 3 December 2016

'I saw drug user shoot up in phone box' - Mayor

Australian drugs expert Dr Marianne Jauncey in Dublin Picture: Tony Gavin
Australian drugs expert Dr Marianne Jauncey in Dublin Picture: Tony Gavin

Lord Mayor of Dublin Brendan Carr has said he saw a man injecting drugs in a city phone box this week

He was speaking follow- ing a visit to the capital by Australian drugs expert Dr Marianne Jauncey, who said she was shocked at the amount of people she saw openly using drugs in the city.

She said it surpassed anything she has seen in Sydney - a city of 4.3 million people - in the past decade.

Mr Carr said the situation was "dangerous".

"There's no doubt about it, this is a problem that hasn't gone away. Three or four days ago I myself witnessed someone injecting in a phone box," he told the Herald.

"This is dangerous - you can't have needles lying around on the streets. It's a bad image for the city to have drugs being taken openly like this.

"I don't believe putting people in prison works. There are people who are concerned that if we introduce injecting clinics that we are in some way legalising or normalising this, but we've never conquered this issue."

The Ana Liffey Drug Project has called for the potential of drug users as ordinary people must be realised.

Project director Tony Duffin said supervised injection centres were the best solution for everyone concerned.

"They are not the only solution, they are part of the solution. People need housing, they need support," he said.

"We've been lobbying for almost five years for supervised injecting centres. The current situation is not good for anyone.

"It's not good for the addicts, it's not good for business, it's not good for residents and it's not good for tourism."

Scum

Mr Duffin said an injecting centre would help save lives, and pointed out that there had not been a single death in any of the 100 or so supervised injecting centres worldwide.

Mr Duffin also hit out at the attitude some people had to drug addicts and said terms such as "scum" were unhelpful.

"It's unacceptable to speak about people like this. These are sons and daughters. People are full of potential," he said.

Richard Guiney, CEO of Dublin Town, said that in the organisation's experience there had been a marked fall-off in public drug use.

"The first thing I would say is that the issue is on the decrease," he said.

"If I was talking about it 10 years ago, we would have been finding much more needles on the street."

He supported a pilot project for mobile supervised injecting centres.

A Dublin caller to Joe Duffy on RTE Radio One's Liveline said that being on streets where people were on drugs was like "being in an episode of The Walking Dead".

Gary Gibson (49), from Lucan, said more effective action was needed to curb the distressing behaviour of addicts on the streets.

He said on a recent visit to the city centre he and his wife were on a crowded 25A bus that stopped at James Joyce Bridge.

A young man "clearly under the influence of drugs" was engaging in an sexually explicit act while lying down alone on public seating in broad daylight.

"His tracksuit bottoms were down around his ankles and he must have been out of his head on drugs," he said.

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