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Harm reduction overview for Ireland

Map of Ireland

1. National context

Needle and syringe exchange services were first provided in 1989, when five exchanges were established. There are two models of service operating: fixed-site exchanges (24 sites), and home visit exchanges, or ‘backpacking’ (one site). In 2009 the HSE in cooperation with the Irish Pharmacy Foundation announced a project to provide needle and syringe exchange through community-based pharmacies. The project was rolled out in 2011 in cooperation with the Elton John Aids Foundation, and in 2013 a total of 71 pharmacy-based sites were operating across Ireland. Between 583 and 1 243 clients attended pharmacy-based needle and syringe programmes each month. Latest available data on usage of specialist syringe programmes (2012) indicate that they served more than 9 200 individual clients and distributed nearly 360 000 syringes.

Services provide a range of sterile injecting equipment and materials. All existing services provide different sizes and types of needle and syringe, as well as alcohol swabs and citric or acetic acid. Condoms, stericups or cookers and sterile water, non-toxic foil (for smoking heroin), syringe identifiers and tourniquets are available through the needle and syringe programmes. However, no service provides single-use injecting packs, crack pipes or straws.

In Ireland the HBV vaccine is recommended for several high-risk groups, including prisoners and injecting drug users.

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2. Responses to prevent and reduce drug-related infectious diseases

Needle and syringe programmes Country  data
Availability of  NSP programmes  Full
% NSP availability at NUTS3  100 %
Drug use equipment distributed at specialised drug agencies (standard prevention material)
availability of alcohol pads  No
availability of dry wipes  Yes
availability of containers  Yes
availability of water  Yes
availability of condoms  Yes
availability of foil  No

Sources:

Structured questionnaire 'Prevention and reduction of health-related harm associated with drug use' (SQ23/29), submitted in 2014.
For an explanation of terms used, see the definitions of terms.
Availability expert rating scale:

  • Full – nearly all persons in need would obtain it.
  • Extensive – a majority but not nearly all of them would obtain it.
  • Limited – more than a few but not a majority of them would obtain it.
  • Rare – just a few of them would obtain it.
Testing, vaccination and treatment of infections Country  data
Availability of Hepatitis C testing in the community  Extensive
Availability of universal hepatitis B immunization programme  Yes
Hepatitis B vaccination programme specific for high risk groups  Yes
ARV treatment of HIV infection :

Sources:

Structured questionnaire 'Prevention and reduction of health-related harm associated with drug use' (SQ23/29), submitted in 2014.
Availability expert rating scale:

  • Full – nearly all persons in need would obtain it.
  • Extensive – a majority but not nearly all of them would obtain it.
  • Limited – more than a few but not a majority of them would obtain it.
  • Rare – just a few of them would obtain it.
Health promotion responses Country  data
Availability of individual counselling programmes  Extensive
Availability of programmes for practical advice and training on 'safer use/safer injecting'  Limited
Involvement of peer educators in the response to infectious diseases prevention  No

Sources:

Structured questionnaire 'Prevention and reduction of health-related harm associated with drug use' (SQ23/29), submitted in 2014.
Availability expert rating scale:

  • Full – nearly all persons in need would obtain it.
  • Extensive – a majority but not nearly all of them would obtain it.
  • Limited – more than a few but not a majority of them would obtain it.
  • Rare – just a few of them would obtain it.

Drug Treatment

See the country specific treatment profile.

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3. Responses to prevent and reduce drug-related deaths

Availability of drug-related death responses in the community Country  data
Availability of overdose information materials  :
Availability of individual overdose risk assessment (provided by trained drugs or health workers)  :
Availability of overdose response training  :

Sources:

Structured questionnaire 'Prevention and reduction of health-related harm associated with drug use' (SQ23/29), submitted in 2014.
Availability expert rating scale:

  • Full – nearly all persons in need would obtain it.
  • Extensive – a majority but not nearly all of them would obtain it.
  • Limited – more than a few but not a majority of them would obtain it.
  • Rare – just a few of them would obtain it.
Availability of drug consumption rooms Country  data
Number of facilities n.av.
Number of cities n.av.
Number of consumptions per year n.av.

Sources:

Structured questionnaire 'Prevention and reduction of health-related harm associated with drug use' (SQ23/29), submitted in 2011.
N.Av. stands for ‘The intervention is not available in the country’.

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4. Responses to prevent and reduce drug-related harms in recreational settings

Provision of specific responses implemented in night clubs and festivals Free, accessible, cold water Immediate First Aid ‘Chill out’ rooms Information material Outreach work Amnesty bins
Night clubs  :  :  :  :  :  :
Festivals  :  :  :  :  :  :

Sources:

Structured questionnaire 'Prevention and reduction of health-related harm associated with drug use' (SQ23/29), submitted in 2011.
Provision expert rating scale:

  • Full – in nearly all night clubs/festivals.
  • Extensive – a majority of night clubs/festivals provide the intervention (but not nearly all of them).
  • Limited – more than a few night clubs/festivals provide the intervention (but not a majority of them).
  • Rare – just a few night clubs/festivals provide the intervention.

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5. References and links

Related EMCDDA resources

 

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The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) is the reference point on drugs and drug addiction information in Europe. Inaugurated in Lisbon in 1995, it is one of the EU's decentralised agencies. Read more >>

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Page last updated: Tuesday, 02 June 2015