Syringe disposal bins for drug users to dispose of needles have now been installed at two locations on the northside of Cork city.
The heavy-duty containers can be found in alleyways off Wellington Road, marked with a biohazard symbol.
They have been installed in an effort to clean up the area by putting the onus on addicts to dump drug paraphernalia securely rather than leaving syringes on the streets, on steps, or in alleyways where passing pedestrians might handle them.
There have been a number of cases in the city in previous years in which cleaners and other citizens have accidentally pricked themselves with hypodermic needles left lying on the streets.
Superintendent Mick Comyns described this scenario as a major health concern and one which results in months of anxious waiting where the injured parties must undergo a series of tests to ensure they have not been infected with Hepatitis C.
“The Drugs Task Force has installed two bins, and other areas in the city are currently being looked at,” said Supt Comyns.
“It does seem to have been successful elsewhere."
Supt Comyns said drug use is a big problem in Cork city and one which doesn’t seem to be getting any better. He said that while a number of areas are particularly bad right now, the problem is a moveable one.
“One week it could be in one place, the next week it could be in another place depending on a number of different factors, including Garda activity,” he said.
“Drug users are encouraged to use these bins, and we find that they do. There is proof that it does work.”
Lord Mayor of Cork Councillor Des Cahill welcomed the installation of the needle bins but said:
“I don’t know how much use they will get because I can’t imagine how people taking drugs would be in a condition to put their used paraphernalia away neatly in a bin."