A MEDICALLY supervised safe injecting centre for drug addicts will not be established in Cork city until the success of a planned facility in Dublin is evaluated first.
HSE co-ordinator of drug and alcohol Services in Cork, David Lane, said the facility in the capital is due to be opened this year.
“Cork Drug and Alcohol Taskforce, the HSE and other partners have been very supportive in terms of looking at medically supervised injecting facilities,” said Mr Lane.
“People will be aware that it was announced last year that Dublin would be the first site that would open its doors and that hasn’t happened yet. There have been major challenges around planning and controversy around the site.
“I know we will not make progress with a service like that until one is up and running in Dublin. I do expect that a service will open in Dublin this year and it will take a year or so before it is evaluated.
“The Minister is open to looking at other sites in other parts of the country as well and we will be ready for making a submission for something like that at that point in time. It’s hugely expensive to run,” he added.
At the City Hall Joint Policing Committee, Mr Lane also revealed that the HSE has developed a “dual diagnosis” programme that is aimed at working with people who have both mental health issues and addiction problems. These people will be assessed to determine which services it is best for them to access.
“We have to be more responsive to the needs that are presented to us in 2019,” said Mr Lane.
“There is a complexity around people who have both a mental health issue and an addiction and who should treat them first. We started a dual diagnosis programme and it has been important in changing people’s lives,” he added.
There are also plans for a detox stabilisation unit to allow medical professionals to work with people in “chaotic” circumstances and a €500,000 service reforms fund three-year project where dedicated staff will work with clients in homelessness and addiction services.