herald

Friday 18 August 2017

Unease over supervised injecting centres

shootinhg alley
shootinhg alley

Radical new legislation to allow for medically-supervised injecting centres for heroin users will face opposition in the Dail but the Government parties are dodging the issue.

The Labour Party refused to respond to Herald press queries on the proposals, whilst the Department of Justice - led by Fine Gael's Minister Frances Fitzgerald - insisted the proposals were a Health Department matter.

Last month, this newspaper revealed that under the proposed legislation being prepared, the aim of the centres, where users are given clean needles to use in a supervised environment, is to get drug addicts into treatment while keeping the streets safe for the general public.

The Ana Liffey Drug Project and the Voluntary Assistant Scheme (VAS) of the Bar Council of Ireland are working on the proposed law change.

CRITICS

Critics say it could lead to the partial legalisation of the Class A drug.

And it could prevent incidents like that of little Lexi McNamara aged just five from Oliver Bond House in Dublin 8 who was jabbed by a needle when she put her hand in the flap of a parking meter.

However Fianna Fail and Sinn Fein say they won't back the plans until they see draft legislation.

A Department of Justice spokesman said: "The legislation governing controlled substances in this jurisdiction is the Misuse of Drugs Acts which falls under the remit of the Department of Health.

The Labour Party said it would not be providing a comment but Labour TD Anne Ferris, who is deputy chair of the Oireachtas Justice committee, said the plans "should be looked at".

hnews@herald.ie

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