Supervised injecting centres do not have a ‘honeypot effect’ in attracting drug users, according to the report of a drug policy summit.
It found there needs to be a “relationship of trust” between police and management of centres and that gardaí must neither “target nor avoid” the centre.
The report states that the facility will “not solve the drug problem or decrease drug consumption”.
It says legislation setting up the centres — currently going through the Oireachtas — should not exclude certain groups, such as those aged under 18 or pregnant women.
The report says while a pilot centre is being set up for Dublin city centre, there have been calls for such a facility in other areas, such as Cork City.
The report of the Drug Policy Summit, hosted by the Ana Liffey Drug Project, examined medically supervised injecting centres and decriminalisation.
It says people who inject drugs should be consulted regarding “service design and implementation” of the facility.
The report says injecting facilities “should and could be much more than just monitoring injections”; provide an opportunity for “relief” from the dangers users face on the street; provide the room to have conversations with staff.
It states that access to the facility should be broad and “steer away from excluding certain groups from the accessing the service”.
The report states that injectors tend “to use close to where they purchase their drugs”.
“It was suggested that ‘NIMBYism’ (not in my back yard) may be an issue and people may be concerned about a honeypot effect, although it was noted that the evidence did not show that supervised injecting facilities had any sort of honeypot effect.”
The report says there can be a “considerable burden” on the clinical lead, who is regularly on call.
The report notes the reality that drug use occurs in drop-in centres and hostels and that these facilities have clinical waste bins in the toilets.
It says there needs to be “proactive” engagement with the local community to allay their fears. In some locations, security staff are hired to manage and prevent congregation outside. It found that international experience shows there was “no increase” in crime.
It states that injecting centres do not solve the drug problem or lower drug consumption.
It found police must adopt a balanced approach: “Police must not target the centre and users but also must not avoid the centre.” It says local gardaí must be “educated” on how to police it and be brought on a tour of the facility. Gardaí should exercise discretion, it says, and “common sense” dictates that people merely walking towards the centre should not be stopped and searched.
The report says decriminalisation has “little or no impact” on levels of drug use but that criminalisation creates “unnecessary harms” on users.
It says while there have been better outcomes in Portugal under its form of decriminalistion of possession, the benefits “are more likely to reflect a broader policy shift”.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved