Posted on: 2 March, 2023
Last night Belfast City Councillors passed a ground-breakingmotion which would see an overdose prevention centre opened in the city.
This vote signals a major step in the campaign for safer injecting sites in the UK.
There are more than 200 overdose prevention centres in more than 16 countries all across the world, which supervise millions of injections each year. Nobody has ever died of an overdose in one of these sites.
Almost 350 people died due to an overdose in Belfast between 2017-2021 which has led to growing calls for more to be done to prevent more people from losing their lives due to preventable overdoses. Five years have passed since meetings were first held in Belfast on this issue.
Charlie Mack, Chief Executive at Cranstoun said: “This is a crucial step in the right direction not just for Belfast and Northern Ireland, but for the UK and Ireland.
“It sends a clear signal that something needs to change to ensure that people who use drugs can be treated with compassion and dignity by supporting them to have their own safe spaces.
There have been many key people driving the push for OPCs in Belfast and across the UK, keeping the momentum going, without whom we would not be in this place today.
“It is testament to the will and courage of many Belfast City Councillors who have taken this brave and historic move bypassing this motion and sets a positive role model and way forward for other cities in the UK and Ireland to follow.
“I hope that in the months to come we can see strides being made to open the UK’s first ‘legal’ overdose prevention centre and make this motion a reality for the people who need it most.”