The Government has today approved additional heads for inclusion in the Misuse of Drugs (Amendment) Bill 2015 to allow for supervised injecting facilities.

Speaking following the decision, Minister of State with responsibility for Drug Strategy Aodhán Ó Ríordáin said: "I was delighted today to get Cabinet approval for my proposal on medically supervised injecting centres.

"Last month, I gave a speech at the London School of Economics where I announced that Ireland needed to take a new approach to dealing with drug policy including the establishment of medically supervised injection facilities.

"These facilities can help in harm reduction and alleviate some of the complex needs of a vulnerable and hard to reach group of addicts.

"They are not the only solution to addressing drug addiction but will play a significant role in reducing street injecting and drug related deaths.

"Research published by the Health Research Board today demonstrated quite clearly that 387 people died in 2013 due to drug poisoning and one in five of these deaths was caused by heroin use," the minister said. 

"The establishment of supervised injecting facilities will allow for earlier medical intervention in the case of overdoses and can also act as a gateway to treatment for drug users.

"I want to thank all of the agencies and bodies that have worked on bringing this proposal to fruition, in particular the Ana Liffey Drug Project.

"I look forward to this proposal being developed further in the New Year when the bill is published." he added.

One site will be selected as a pilot programme in Dublin City centre and will be accessible only to chronic users. 

A location or date for the centre has not been announced.

Users will bring drugs to the centre which is being set up to prevent injury and death from drug overdose.

A Government spokesman said drugs will still be illegal.