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  • Study finds sharp rise in opiate use

    Posted on December 13th, 2009 TimB No comments

    The number opiate users in the State rose by more than 41 per cent between 2001 and 2006, according to a study by the National Advisory Committee on Drugs (NACD).

    But researchers said the rise was partially inflated by an expansion of the national methadone treatment programme and the statistical model used to collate the figures.

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  • Minister for Drugs welcomes new Drug Treatment Services in Ireland to be developed across the South of the country

    Posted on October 13th, 2009 TimB No comments

    Minister for Drugs, John Curran, T.D., warmly welcomed the today’s HSE announcement of the planned provision of substantially increased Drug Treatment Services at locations across the South of the country from Wexford to Kerry.  The Minister, who attended the announcement in Cork today, confirmed that the initiatives are being part-funded by the Office of the Minister for Drugs.

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  • €3m drug rehab drive for Munster

    Posted on October 13th, 2009 TimB No comments

    Extra methadone clinics will be set up across Munster as part of a €3 million package announced yesterday to help heroin addicts.

    New detox beds and thousands of counselling hours will also be provided in response to the rise of opiate abuse in the region.

    The initiative was announced by the Health Service Executive (HSE) in Cork following a meeting at City Hall between Drugs Strategy Minister John Curran, the city’s Lord Mayor Dara Murphy, and other key figures in the city’s war on drugs.

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  • Over €1 million to tackle heroin use in HSE South region

    Posted on October 10th, 2009 TimB No comments

    Over one million euro in funding has been allocated to help tackle heroin use in the HSE South region. The announcement was made by the Drugs Minister John Curran who opened the Getting a Grip Conference, organised by the Southern Regional Drugs Taskforce, in Killarney.

    The funding which has been made available under the National Drugs Strategy will focus on addiction services and will include a new methadone clinic in Tralee. Extra bed spaces and counselling services are also due to come on stream across the region. Minister Curran says attitudes towards drug use must change:

    Radio Kerry News

  • ‘Simple to get heroin in Co Kerry Ireland

    Posted on August 12th, 2009 TimB No comments

    “It’s simple to get heroin in Tralee. I only need to make one phonecall, walk down the estate and I can have it in 15 minutes.”

    These are the shocking words of a Kerry heroin addict who this week told The Kerryman just how prevalent heroin has become on Kerry’s streets.

    According to the self-confessed addict, who is now trying to kick his habit and spoke only on condition of anonymity, there are now 100 heroin addicts in the Tralee area alone and addicts can buy the lethal drug freely in the county capital for as little as €50 a deal.

    “I know there’s definitely about 100 people who are using in Tralee. I’m off it two days now but before that I was using it daily for three and a half years. I’d spent whatever I had on it, €50′s worth if I had €50 or €100 if I had €100.”

    “I spent any money I had on it, my dole money or whatever I could get. If I didn’t have enough I’d go in with a friend and we’d split it,” he said.

    “There’s three dealers in town you can go to. There used to be around seven, a few were locked up and they’re doing time but it’s still easy to get,” he said.

    “I regret ever going on it and I’m trying to get sorted out now. I started off just smoking hash and went on to pills and cocaine. I tried everything and ended up on heroin.”

    His words are testament to the grip heroin, once confined to Ireland’s inner cities, now has on Kerry.

    The past three years have seen a surge in heroin abuse in the county with the number of known addicts going from around 12 countywide three years ago to well over 100 now.

    Large seizures of the drug are now commonplace. In 2005 gardaí made one heroin seizure, a small amount for personal use that was taken from a known addict.

    Since then the size of the seizures in Kerry has grown yearly from a €4,000 record haul in May 2007 to a €10,000 haul this April.

    Most worryingly it has emerged that more Kerry people are becoming hooked on the drug.

    According to the Director of Talbot Grove Addiction Centre in Castleisland, Con Cremin, more and more Kerry people, usually aged from their late teens to early 30s, are reporting to the centre seeking help for heroin addiction.

    “In the last two or three years we’ve seen the problem spread to Kerry along the main arteries from Dublin and Limerick where there has been a significant heroin problem for years. Previously most of the addicts in Kerry came from outside the county or were Kerry people who had left the county and become involved with heroin elsewhere,” he said.

    “Heroin is available in most towns now and recently there have been many more people coming to us for help from Kerry whose first experience with heroin was in Kerry,” Mr Cremin said.

  • HSE South seeks resources to develop addiction services

    Posted on August 12th, 2009 TimB No comments

    The HSE has failed to develop community and outpatient addiction services in the south, owing to a budget shortfall, although the area has the most heroin addicts on chronic treatment waiting lists, as well those waiting for the longest period in the country.

    “The HSE South’s development priority is the improved provision of services at community and outpatient level.  This would allow for greater access, early intervention and improved outcomes,” a HSE official told the recent HSE South Regional Health Forum.

    “The 2009 Service Plan provided €4.2 million nationally, of which at least 25 per cent was earmarked to develop tier two and tier three services in the South. However, in the context of the revised Service Plan and reduction in monies available to the HSE, it has not been possible to progress these developments and every effort is being made to secure the required resources.”

    Currently, there are 545 people waiting to get on the methadone programme countrywide, including 106 in Cork and Kerry, where addicts are waiting 10 months on average for treatment, and 78 in the south-east. The longest waiting list is in the south-east at 18 months.  So far this year 970 people presented for addiction (drugs and alcohol) treatment in the south, 550 of them in Cork and Kerry.

    In 2008, 1,205 presented in Cork and Kerry compared to 1,473 in the south-east.

    In relation to methadone treatment and waiting times, the HSE official said an additional three HSE-led clinics funded by Government minor capital grants will open before year end – one in Wexford and two in Cork city.

    (Irish Medical News)

  • Heroin claims first Kerry victim

    Posted on July 2nd, 2009 TimB No comments

    A man in his 30s died last Thursday afternoon in Tralee town centre, in what is believed to be Kerry’s first case of a heroin overdose.  Emergency services raced to the scene at Edward Court, between Edward Street and Ashe Street shortly after 2.15pm on Thursday, and discovered the man’s body lying inside the entrance to the Edward Court apartment complex.

    Gardaí immediately sealed off the area, which is close to Tralee’s main post office, and the man was rushed to Kerry General Hospital, where he died a short time later.

    Residents were prevented from using the main entrance to enter or leave the building as forensic experts examined the scene. It was confirmed that gardaí are not treating the death as suspicious.

    The identity of the victim, who is from Limerick, has not yet been disclosed, but it is understood that he had lived in the Tralee area for a number of years.

    Locals at the scene were shocked on Thursday afternoon as emergency services arrived to the normally quiet area.

    A large group of residents and passers-by gathered outside the apartments as news of the incident unfolded and the garda presence increased. The complex is home to a large number of families, many with small children.

    A senior member of the Divisional Drug Squad warned this week that heroin is now becoming one of the main drugs of abuse.

    “It is a highly addictive drug and has extremely serious consequences and overdose or allergic reaction is one of the main concerns,” he said.

    “Gardai have had a number of successful seizures from heroin dealers in the past few years and there are local dealers who are currently in jail as a result, with a number of cases against suspected heroin dealers pending.

    “The drug is being brought in from Limerick and Dublin and gardai are keeping the situation under close monitor.” (Kerryseye)

  • Shock rise in use of heroin in Kerry towns

    Posted on April 21st, 2009 TimB No comments

    At a Tralee Joint Policing Committee meeting this week Tralee Garda Superintendent Pat Sullivan said there has been a huge increase in heroin dealing in Tralee in recent years with the majority of the drug being brought in to the county internally in dealers’ stomachs. Superintendent Sullivan told the committee the bulk of heroin is coming in from Limerick and Dublin.

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