The South Belfast MLA has said: “We have seen over recent years the huge opioid epidemic hitting cities in North America on an unprecedented scale, but the fact remains that we do not need to cross the Atlantic to see that current policies here are not working to tackle addiction either.
“Only this morning I have been contacted about open drugs use and discarded needles thrown over school walls, businesses and parks in Belfast City Centre. This is evidence right before our eyes of the need for change.
“’Drug consumption’ or ‘safe injecting’ rooms have proven effective in parts of North America in tackling the scale of addiction, reducing harm, and in enabling people subsequently to get on the path to rehabilitation.
“It’s beyond time we had devolved government back here in NI so we can also work on delivering new, more effective, evidence-based policies and plans which will actually tackle addiction and help people at most risk.”