THERE are no concrete plans or timelines in place for the development of a supervised injection centre for Cork city, according to the Health Service Executive.
Such facilities for Cork and Dublin were contained in the plans for government in 2016.
Dublin was to be the first city to secure such a site. But plans lodged by Merchants Quay Ireland for such a facility in Dublin 8 were rejected by Dublin City Council on Friday, with the possible impact on tourism in the area cited as one of the reasons for the rejection.
Other reasons included an over-concentration of drug treatment facilities in the area and the lack of a robust policing plan for the locality.
The decision will impact on the time scale for such a facility in Cork as the Dublin centre was to be a pilot for other such centres in Ireland.
Currently, there are 500 heroin users in Cork and Kerry known to the HSE addiction services.
At present, there is one outreach worker on the needle exchange programme in the city. Recruitment is now underway for a second outreach worker for the programme, according to a spokeswoman for the HSE.
She added: “We expect the position to be filled shortly.”
The HSE has located two biohazard bins in the city for used drugs paraphernalia. One is on the Grand Parade and the other is on John Street.
A recent study of heroin use in Cork city by John Horan from Arbour House and Marie Claire Van Hout of the Public Health Institute of Liverpool John Moores University highlighted a number of key areas where heroin is injected in Cork city.
The aim of the study was to map the current areas where injecting of the highly addictive drug occurs in Cork.
The report identified three key areas where injecting occurs and where fatal overdoses have occurred: Merchant’s Quay, Anderson’s Quay, and Anderson’s Street; the Grand Parade, and the area of North Main Street, Grenville Place, and Henry Street.
Other cluster areas for injecting were identified at Wellington Road, Summerhill North, and the Lower Glanmire Road; Pope’s Quay, and Richmond Hill.
The report also revealed preferred locations for a supervised injection facility by the 51 heroin users who responded to the survey.
These preferred locations were Lower Oliver Plunkett Street, Grand Parade, and Grenville Place and Henry Street.