Aim is to stop street drug use but only those who in­ject get in

The Irish Mail on Sunday - - NEWS - By John Lee

TONY GEOGHEGAN, founder of Mer­chants Quay Ire­land, says: ‘Drug use and street drug use have in­creased. Any­one who walks around the city can see that.

‘Un­for­tu­nately it has now be­come en­twined with home­less­ness, there is such a level of home­less­ness now. There are sin­gle peo­ple and peo­ple with more com­plex prob­lems who are be­com­ing home­less and get­ting fil­tered down to the bot­tom. They are the vis­i­ble face of drugs and home­less­ness on the street. There are is­sues of pub­lic in­ject­ing and pub­lic drug use. What this ini­tia­tive [the planned drug in­ject­ing clinic] is about is try­ing to bring peo­ple in off the street… into a safe, clean, su­per­vised en­vi­ron­ment.’

Mr Geoghegan says he agrees with Min­is­ter Finian McGrath’s pref­er­ence for drug treat­ment cen­tres not to be con­cen­trated in the city cen­tre.

‘I would agree with that. In the past there was dif­fi­culty in es­tab­lish­ing drug treat­ment fa­cil­i­ties. Peo­ple said have them some­where else and that is why they ended up be­ing es­tab­lished in the city cen­tre. The aim is ul­ti­mately to move them back out into the sub­urbs.

‘One of the big con­cerns busi­ness peo­ple and oth­ers have is about vis­i­ble drug use on the street, of peo­ple in­ject­ing on the street and on the green op­po­site the school [St Audeon’s]. So the aim is that peo­ple won’t have to wit­ness that.’

Mr Geoghegan says only drug ad­dicts who in­ject will be per­mit­ted to use the in­jec­tion cen­tre.

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