At a recent Community Safety Linkage Group meeting, Public Participation Network members called on policymakers to consider the results of upcoming UCC Research on the need for a Medically Supervised Injecting Facility (MSIF) in Cork City and fund accordingly any measures suggested. David Lane (HSE) spoke of the journey taken by officials and public representatives to Portugal to witness Lisbon’s Medically Supervised Injecting Facility. On the return from the trip, UCC was contracted to carry out independent research on whether there is a need for such a facility in Cork City.
City residents were given an opportunity to raise concerns with Mr. Lane. They learned that where these services were put in place, deaths from overdose plummeted, blood-borne illnesses reduced, and people experiencing addiction could tie in other services such as addiction recovery and family support services. For the local communities, there is a reduction in injecting equipment on streets, and vulnerable, ill people in the community could get access to the support they need.
At present, a Medically Supervised Injecting Facility (MSIF) for Cork City is not in the Programme for Government, so PPN Members have called on policymakers to address this and fund appropriately if the research shows a need for such a facility for Cork City.
The Community Safety Linkage Group Chair, Laura O’Connell, thanked David Lane for speaking at the meeting and said;
“Tonight, we facilitated a conversation where city residents and community groups were empowered to raise their concerns. They felt heard and engaged with and, in response, learned the evidence in relation to Medically Supervised Injecting Facilities. But it went further, our members expressed a need to highlight the humanity of people experiencing addiction, with one participant saying, “They are us; we are they.””
The Community Safety Linkage Group has asked Mr. Lane to return and speak to the group once the UCC research has been completed in early 2024.