The planned supervised injecting centre is a “specific” public health measure being taken to tackle Ireland’s very high drug mortality rate, the Government says.
Minister of State for Health Promotion and the National Drugs Strategy, Catherine Byrne, was responding to the annual report of the EU drugs agency which found, not for the first time, that Ireland has one of the highest rates of drug-induced deaths in the union.
The European Drug Report 2018 reported that Ireland had the joint fourth highest rate of such deaths, at 70 per million people.
With a rate the same as the UK, Ireland was behind Estonia (132), Sweden (88) and Norway (81), while the EU average was 23 per million.
However, the report said the findings “must be interpreted with caution” as there was “systematic under- reporting” in some countries.
“The high number of drug-related poisoning deaths every year (350 people in 2015) greatly concerns me and we want to reduce this number. One public health measure to specifically address heroin-related deaths (82 in 2015) is the establishment of a pilot supervised injecting facility in Dublin city centre in 2018,” said Ms Byrne.
The report of the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction said opioid (mainly heroin) users are five to 10 times more likely to die than their peers, and that heroin, often in combination with other substances, is present in the majority of fatal overdoses.
Source: Cormac O'Keeffe, The Irish Examiner, 08/06/18