CORK can take a lead by developing a supervised injection centre in the city for people who inject heroin.
That is according to former lord mayor, Independent councillor Mick Finn, who is a youth worker.
He was responding to a call by Cork City Council chief executive Ann Doherty to elected members at the city’s joint policing committee to lobby for an injection centre for Cork City.
She told Monday’s meeting of the committee that such a plan could work in Cork City, while the current lord mayor, Fianna Fáil councillor Colm Kelleher, said people’s lives depend on such a facility.
Mr Finn said: “The need for a supervised injecting facility in Cork has been flagged for several years. I’m glad to hear it’s finally gaining traction, having previously been dismissed by policy makers in this whole health area, and there is a change of direction.
“Cork can take a lead here and it should herald the start of a health-based response to drug use rather than the criminal justice approach.
“As mentioned previously, the location of the facility and its linkages to acute services will be paramount and must be thought out properly. The needs of users and of communities can often be competing and so must be harmonised.”
Cuan Mhuire senior addiction counsellor Mike Guerin compared injection centres to landfill sites.
“Everybody wants them, but nobody wants them near their home,” he said.
Mr Guerin said such centres reach out and provide essential services to “people who are very unwell” with addiction to heroin.
He said such a centre would help reduce accidental overdoses and would also help eliminate drug litter. He said it would bring heroin users into contact with services that could help them stabilise their addiction.