Dublin to Introduce “Injection Rooms” for Heroin
Ireland is taking a stand against leaving the population riddled by addiction to overdose and perish from their diseases, instead they are enabling them to inject their substances of choice in sanctified “injection rooms,” which are monitored by medical professionals.
That sounds absolutely insane, right?
My American ears are burning!
But, could there be sound logic behind what seems to be absolute madness? According to Attn injection sites are a means of harm reduction– similar to needle exchange programs– where active users can safely submit to the physical and psychological need to inject themselves with opiate based substances. Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, Ireland’s Minister for Drugs, (we assume, an appointment similar to the Drug Czar) asserts injection rooms eventually lead to treatment.
Arguably the most controversial of other means of harm reduction, injection rooms allow the full face of addiction to take root in an environment where users are safe from overdose- because of the personnel on hand to avert disaster. Additionally, injection rooms remove the illicit nature from using scheduled substances on the streets, and give users a safety net to connect to compassionate medical and addiction specialists when they have finally had enough.
Similarly to needle exchange programs, those seeking refuge in an injection room are more apt to eventually seek help, and prevent the spread of communicable diseases and blood born illnesses. Taking an active means to stave off future complications- potentially endangering long term recovery- protects those with substance use disorders and communities alike.
In Ireland, seven in every 1,000 residents are addicted to heroin. The country touts one of the highest death rates ascribed to drug use in the European expanse. Death tolls maime 68 per million every year.
Ríordáin is quoted by Attn,
“I am firmly of the view that there needs to be a cultural shift in how we regard substance misuse if we are to break this cycle and make a serious attempt to tackle drug and alcohol addiction.
Above all, the mode must be person-centered and involve an integrated approach to treatment and rehabilitation based on a continuum of care with clearly defined referral pathways.”
“Regardless of the drug the individual needs an intervention and society [will say], ‘the substance is illegal, but you are not a criminal for taking it.’”
Ríordáin’s stance is firmly centered around the celebration, and rescue, of the individual, and collective interest. I believe it’s safe to say he proposes us to readdress how we regard those struggling with addiction; changing the perceptions of society in regards to the disease of addiction with effective policies is the first step to achieving compassion, understanding, and treatment. In light of Ireland’s dire circumstances of overdose deaths,
Injection rooms may prove to reduce the numbers of overdose victims. But for how long?
It’s true, many who use safe needle exchange programs may forgo treatment for years before getting help- but during that period of time where addiction remains untreated, they are safe from contracting potentially fatal diseases, and are not passing them onto the community at large. The same can be said for injection rooms.
If we honestly ask ourselves which environment is more conducive to rehabilitation, when left to choose from addicts remaining on the street, behind bars, or in the hands of medical professionals- we think the answer is a no-brainer.
What do you think of Ireland’s new initiative? Do injection rooms just enable addicts, or are they a smart way of getting people into treatment?
About the Author
Alexandrea Holder is a South Florida native working toward double Master’s degrees in Psychology and English. She finds the psychological aspects of addiction and mental illness fascinating, as both are prevalent in her family’s history. When not researching and spreading addiction awareness, Alexandrea enjoys sparring, artistic pursuits, and admiring puppies online.