Drug users in Ireland will have special injecting rooms available in Dublin by next year followed by similar rooms in Galway, Cork, and Limerick, according to the Irish government.

Aodhan O Riordain, the minister for new communities, culture and equality and drugs strategy, stated that medically supervised injection rooms will be ready next year.

He will also decriminalize the possession of small amounts of cannabis, heroin, and cocaine as part of a “radical cultural shift,” he told the Irish Times.

“I am firmly of the view that there needs to be a cultural shift in how we regard substance misuse if we are to break this cycle and make a serious attempt to tackle drug and alcohol addiction,” said Ó Ríordáin, noting there had to be a more compassionate approach.

The Minister hoped the new law would be enacted “early next year.”

He stated that he does not see injecting rooms as “free-for-all” facilities for drug addicts.

“These are clinically controlled environments which aim to engage hard-to-reach populations” of drug users, including homeless drug users who would otherwise take drugs in the open, creating risks to themselves and the public.

“Research has shown that the use of supervised injecting centers is associated with self-reported reductions in injecting risk behaviors.”

Ó Ríordáin he said he wanted to take away the “stigma” and “shame” from drug addiction.

He told the Irish Times there was now a “strong consensus that drugs across the board should be decriminalized

“This will be a wider discussion under the next government, but once people get their head around the argument, about what decriminalization actually means, that policy won’t be about the drug but about the individual. Then, regardless of the drug, the individual needs an intervention and society will be saying, ‘the substance is illegal, but you are not a criminal for taking it.’”

Minister for drugs strategy says more compassion and less stigma and shame needed.