Injection centres urged for heroin users in Galway

Discarded drugs paraphernalia at the Plots, Woodquay this week, including syringes, spoons, foil and 'sharps bins' for used items. PHOTOS: ENDA CUNNINGHAM

Supervised drug injection centres for Galway have been suggested by a former mayor, in an effort to deal with the city’s growing heroin problem.

At a meeting of the City Joint Policing Committee (JPC) this week, Cllr Frank Fahy said there needed to be a multi-agency approach to the issue of open drug-taking, drug dealing and discarded syringes around the city.

And a suggestion was made at the meeting that people who enter homeless services in Galway are coming out afterwards using drugs and alcohol.

Meanwhile, burglaries are on the increase – up by one-fifth so far this year. It emerged at the meeting that the majority of criminals on Galway Gardaí’s ‘watch list’ for such crimes are heroin addicts.

Two people arrested for burglaries in the city openly admitted they need €1,500 each per week to feed their heroin addiction.

Drug-use blackspots around the city – and the dumping of syringes and other drug paraphernalia – was also discussed.

This week, the Galway City Tribune visited The Plots at Woodquay and found it littered with used needles and empty syringe packets, hundreds of squares of tin foil (used for smoking heroin), disposable spoons and dozens of pocket-sized ‘sharps bins’.

Chief Superintendent Tom Curley said: “It is a problem in the city, and it’s not just a Garda problem. It’s in relation to treatment centres, addiction centres, to education. I and my team alone will not go along and take on the issue and defeat it.”

In the first eight months of this year, there were 196 burglaries in Galway City – up 21% on the 162 for the same period last year.

Former Mayor Frank Fahy said: “I think it’s time we actually manned up and said ‘it isn’t going away’ and looked as a city at looking at having centres for people to inject in a safe way.”
For the full discussion from the meeting on the heroin problem, and on crime, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. Buy a digital edition of this week’s paper here, or download the app for Android or iPhone.