Press Release

New study on homeless deaths highlights urgent need for Medically Supervised Injecting Facility

New study on homeless deaths highlights urgent need for Medically Supervised Injecting Facility


Merchants Quay Ireland, the national homeless and addiction charity, has today said that a new study* on homeless deaths in Dublin highlights the urgent need for a Medically Supervised Injecting Facility (MSIF).

The study, which was commissioned by the Dublin Region Homeless Executive, found that between 2011 and 2015, the mortality rate among people who are homeless is up to 10 times higher than the general population. Drug and alcohol related causes accounted for nearly 40% of homeless deaths.

It concluded that “the high percentage of potentially avoidable death among homeless people from opioid overdose presents an opportunity for the development of possible preventative strategies”.

Responding to the report, Merchants Quay Project Coordinator for the MSIF Derek Parker said:

“This report highlights the urgent need to have a Medically Supervised Injecting Facility up and running. People who are homeless and in addiction are being failed.

“International evidence shows that MSIFs save lives by reducing the risk of overdose, reduce public injecting, reduce drug-related litter and increase the uptake of addiction treatment. While the MSIF is not the sole solution to Ireland’s drug epidemic, it is the first step in treating people in addiction with care and compassion, and ultimately supporting people towards recovery.”


For more information, please contact:

Andrew Rooney
Communications Officer
Merchants Quay Ireland
T: 01 531 2958
M: 086 7793 208

Twitter: @MerchantsQuayIR

Notes to the Editor

* Ivers J-H, Zgaga L, O’Donoghue-Hynes B, et al. Five-year standardised mortality ratios in a cohort of homeless people in Dublin. BMJ Open 2019;9:e023010. doi:10.1136/ bmjopen-2018-023010 [Available here:]

About Merchants Quay Ireland

Merchants Quay Ireland is a leading Irish charity working with people who are homeless and in addiction. The organisation provides services ranging from open access crisis intervention and health promotion services to day-support programmes, educational programmes, vocational training, residential treatment, detox and prison counselling.

About the Medically Supervised Injecting Facility

An MSIF is a clean, safe, medically-supervised service for people who inject drugs. In February 2018, the HSE announced Merchants Quay Ireland as the preferred operator of Ireland’s first MSIF. This MSIF will be operated on an 18-month pilot basis and is a part of the programme for Government.

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