‘They Are Not Junkies’

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Aodhán Ó Riordáin, above, in the Seanad this morning and his Misuse of Drugs (Supervised Injecting Facilities) 2017 bill (top)

Earlier today.

Senator Aodhán Ó Riordáin’s Misuse of Drugs (Supervised Injecting Facilities) 2017 bill passed in the Seanad.

Of the move, Mr Ó Riordáin told the Senate:

I just want to put on record An Cathaoirleach, if I might, the name of a man called Robert Keyes who died on the 8th of November, 2015, in St Audeon’s Park in Dublin, of a fatal overdose. When the person who came across his body rang the emergency services they said it was “just another junkie”.

“Now this man’s mother came forward recently, spoke about her son lovingly and caringly in the media, to say that nobody is a junkie in this country.”

“And what you’re doing today, minister, is to ensure, in this life-saving measure that we bring humanity back into our policy, our drug policy and we finally move beyond the situation where anybody would decide to dehumanise or to denigrate somebody with that disgusting term.”

Everybody who is a citizen of this state is entitled to humane, compassionate treatment and if somebody is hopelessly crippled with an addiction, well they deserve the care and compassion of this state. And what this injection centre legislation is doing is providing that. That nobody else has to go to a park, or behind a skip or into an alleyway, or into a playground and inject themselves in such a harmful manner. Finally we will establish a facility that will ensure that people’s lives can be saved, that they won’t contract hepatitis C or HIV and that we can look on these individuals as people with names.”

“And maybe it’s time for a Names Project, that they have in the States, in terms of Aids. That in Ireland we could have a Names Project, that everybody who dies of an overdose, and we do have the third highest overdose rate in Europe. That maybe people who are affected by this and whose families are affected by this, people who approach me but won’t say it publicly, people who approach me and tip me on the shoulder and say, ‘my son died of an overdose’, ‘my brother died of an overdose’, that they can actually begin to speak about their names in loving terms.”

“Because they are not junkies, these are human beings who are being afflicted by addiction and this is the first step, along the Irish road to a proper tackling of this issue in a humane and compassionate way.”

The bill can be read here

47 thoughts on “‘They Are Not Junkies’

  1. Starina

    We need social reform and better resources for the working classes. Nobody takes heroin cos their lives are great already. It’s a very blunt instrument to block pain.

    1. Andrew

      Better resources for the working classes? You’ll have to clarify a few things there if you don’t mind.
      (1) What do you mean by ‘working classes’
      (2) What do you mean by ‘reform’?
      (3) What do you mean ‘resources’?

    2. rotide

      That isn’t true for everyone. There are plenty of people who take heroin because they just like drugs.

    3. wearnicehats

      well not really. They have the pain because they take heroin unfortunately. As heroin is a painkiller the body stops producing its own painkillers so, when you stop using heroin, everything hurts.That’s why coming off heroin is so painful until the body catches up. If these centres are designed to wean people off heroin then great but if they’re just a place where someone can continue their habit then it’s a waste of money that could be spent on people who aren’t addicts.

      1. BScannan

        Nobody becomes addicted by choice. They deserve basic human compassion too, I suppose.

  2. scottser

    respect to you aodhan o’riordan, for having the cajones to take on the unpopular. your actions will save lives so make sure you see it through to the end.

      1. MoyestWithExcitement

        Well, hero might be a *bit* much but you’re right to praise him for doing a good thing here. Very sensible.

        1. Sham Bob

          (I think he’s being sarcastic. I don’t think he believes Aodhán’s a hero at all.). Whether that’s because he’s a politician, a senator, a Labour senator, because of this policy, or because Aodhan once nabbed a taxi off him, we’ll have to decipher ourselves. Will we take a guess and say it’s because of his stance on legalisation, which is actually one of the braver stances any Labour politician has taken in either of the last 2 governments.

          1. Andrew

            It’s misguided and do you know what? Aodhan doesn’t really care. It’s enough that he signalled his virtue. He’s a phoney, a complete and utter lightweight and typical of Labour politicians, too wealthy to realise how out of touch he is.

          2. MoyestWithExcitement

            Actually what you’re doing there is virtue signalling with your impotent whining about principles on a message board. O’Riordain actually did something.

          3. Andrew

            It’s not a ‘brave’ stance it’s a misguided stance. It is the response of a person that thinks enabling people to continue their drug abuse is the best solution. This approach keeps people in their place, because that what Aodhan and his fellow travellers think. That drug abusers need to be facilitated to continue their abuse.
            There will of course be zero injecting centres near Aodhan’s house in the leafy middle class suburbs where so many wealthy Labour politicians live.

    1. scottser

      you’re hardly going to go into a supervised injection facility to smoke a joint are you?

      1. newsjustin

        Lot of people just want a place to sit down.

        I’m in favour of these centres. Society needs to recognise the problem that exists and sick people need support.

          1. scottser

            the 50 years from 1880-1930 is generally known as ‘the great binge’. everyone and their ma was off-chunk on freely available class As

  3. Henry Woods

    I thought Heroin was illegal in this country The buying and selling of it too??
    So, these ‘injection centres’ are legitimising the heroin trade?
    These junkheads are going to need heroin right?
    SO let’s just put the tender out for contracts and see who’s left of the shitty ‘cartel war’ in Dublin fight over it?
    You can’t even get medicinal marijuana to help a sick kid but the gutterscum will have little centres where they can inject shit into their bodies.
    We live in a world where there’s a dozen state health quangos that can’t even provide the basic healthcare for the regular law abiding taxpaying populace but are actually debating and drafting bills for F*CUKIN HEROIN.
    ITS F*CKNG INSANITY.

    1. reddit

      Henry, you poor soul, you have neither the mental capacity nor the emapthy to grasp either the wisdom or the compassion of this proposal. You never will, either. It’s a great shame, and your own huge loss.

    2. Cillian

      Junkheads and gutterscum!! The anger as well. If your a real person you should redirect your fury at more worthy and less wretched targets. Just for your own personal development. A lot of them were dragged up in very unfortunate circumstances and never had any sort of real shot at success. And some are just people of bad character its true. My guess from your tone you dont like inner city dubs and think they have an inferior philosophy to yours but maybe im wrong.

  4. Harry Molloy

    Philly McMahon, despite the heartache the Dubs have laid upon some of us over the past few years, speaks very well on this subject.

  5. Eamonn Clancy

    As the Kinahan gang run riot we are now to open venues where their clients can use their product when it suits them, a product which they purchased as a result of crime? Right so.

    1. postmanpat

      Its only a crime because the government made it a crime. Just legalize drugs. Drug use doesn’t go up when these centres open, and drug use wouldn’t go up if all drugs where legalized either. If you don’t like drugs then don’t do them. I don’t drink vodka in the morning just because it’s legal. When criminal gangs AND the law both agree that drugs should be kept illegal you know something is wrong.

      1. scottser

        the taking of a substance is not illegal. the possession of it is though. it is generally considered that at point of consumption, drug use is seen as a medical issue.

  6. Peter Dempsey

    Hopefully Aodhan will also show compassion for those people who have been beaten, attacked and assaulted by drug addicts.

  7. Louis.lefronde

    At last Ireland is entering the 21st century.

    On an equally positive note Harm Reduction International are having their 25th anniversary conference in my hometown of Montreal next week.

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