The aim of the centres, where users are given clean needles to use in a supervised environment, is to get drug addicts into treatment while keeping the streets safe for the general public.

The idea was proposed 16 months ago by the former Lord Mayor Oisin Quinn, but was quickly shot down on the basis that it is illegal to possess banned substances.

However, the Herald can reveal that the Ana Liffey Drug Project and the Voluntary Assistant Scheme (VAS) of the Bar Council of Ireland have been working together since last summer on draft legislation which would finally allow for the operating of the centres.

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