HSE seeks provider to run country’s first supervised injecting centre

Research carried out in other countries ‘shows clear evidence of benefits of centre’

HSE National Addiction Lead said the facilities are aimed at reducing drug related overdose deaths.

The HSE has issued a tender for “suitably qualified and experienced providers” to run the country’s first supervised injecting centre in Dublin city centre.

The centre will be run on a pilot basis for 18 months with an evaluation at six months and again at 18 months.

Part of the tender process is the establishment of a community liaison post to work with the community in the selected location. The provider and proposed location will be known once the evaluation of the submissions is completed by the end of October 2017.

The HSE said a SIF (supervised injecting facility) is a clean, safe, healthcare environment where people can inject drugs, obtained elsewhere, under the supervision of trained health professionals.


“They offer a compassionate, person-centred service which reduces the harms associated with injecting drug use and can help people access appropriate services,” a statement from the HSE said.

“A SIF can help health service staff to reach and support vulnerable and marginalised people who often do not, cannot or no longer engage with existing heath services.”

Dr Eamon Keenan, HSE National Addiction Lead said the facilities are aimed at reducing drug related overdose deaths and will "connect adults who inject drugs with the wider health and social services to help improve their lives.

“The facilities typically consist of a reception area, a drug consumption area and a recovery area,” Dr Keenan said.

"The exterior of a SIF looks like any other health or social care premises. There are over 90 of these types of facilities across the world in Europe, Canada and Australia.

“From research that has been carried out in these countries there is clear evidence of the benefits that such services can provide both for people who use drugs and the wider society.”

The facility will operate by means of a licence to be granted under legislation approved by the Dáil earlier this year, the Misuse of Drugs (Supervised Injecting Facilities) Act 2017.

Exemption from prosecution will only be applicable to authorised users when on the premises and injecting with the licence holder’s permission.

Under plans by the Minister of State for Drugs Catherine Byrne, the centre would open for 12 hours a day, seven days a week and would cost between €1.5 and €1.8 million per year. If the pilot project is successful, it is envisaged a number of others will be opened across the country.

Ms Byrne previously said that addicts are injecting in lanes in view of the public, including children. She said she had visited such a centre in Copenhagen and had been impressed by the clean space, and the dignity and compassion afforded to those who use it.

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns is a reporter for The Irish Times