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  • Drug Treatment Figures increase in Ireland

    Posted on April 13th, 2015 TimB No comments

    A report in the Irish Examiner  highlights a nationwide surge in the abuse of benzodiazepines and cannabis — and the spread of heroin outside Dublin — has driven drug treatment figures upwards over the last five years.

    The Government has been accused of adopting a “head in the sand” approach to the problem and criticised for a continuing delay in introducing laws controlling the supply and possession of legal tranquillisers.

    Garda sources said that organised crime gangs have moved in to control the supply of the lucrative trade in benzodiazepines (tranquillisers) and so-called z-drugs (hypnotics), while health researchers report that a third of all overdoses involve benzodiazepines.

    Official statistics show a rise of almost 25% in the total number of people treated for illegal drug use between 2009 and 2013, increasing from 6,668 to 8,259.

    Figures gathered by the Health Research Board for the main drug of abuse-level users show that the biggest increases are for benzodiazepines (up 175%, from 261 in 2009 to 719 in 2013), and cannabis (up 61%, from 1,531 to 2,460).

    Opiates — in most cases heroin — rose by 4% from 4,013 to 4,189, but this reflected a fall in Dublin (from 2,360 to 2,100) and a 26% rise outside Dublin (from 1,653 to 2,089).

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  • The City Clinic 20 Years of Reflections Remembrances and Recollections 1993 – 2013

    Posted on December 10th, 2013 TimB No comments

    City Clinic Methadone Maintenance treatment centre is situated in two cojoined buildings in 108/109 Amiens Street.
    The 1911 census recorded that a large number of families lived in both houses, similar to the many tenement dwellings
    that dotted the City. They had come from places like Donegal and Cork to find work in Dublin and there were yeast merchants, waitresses, travelling sales men,dressmakers and tailors.


  • Tranquillisers and methadone send drug-related deaths soaring by 30%

    Posted on November 11th, 2013 TimB No comments

    Drug-related deaths have soared by almost 30%, with a surge in fatalities involving tranquillisers and methadone, figures show.

    Unpublished data shows there were 220 drug poisonings in 2011, compared to 173 in 2010. It is the highest yearly figure since an official database was established in 2004.

    The sudden increase in fatalities is being associated with poly-drug use (more than one drug at a time), as well as a hike in deaths involving methadone, the legal substitute for heroin, and prescription tranquillisers known as benzodiazepines.

    The National Drug-Related Death Index (NDRDI), compiled by the Health Research Board, reports a “substantial increase” in poisonings compared to 2010. It shows:

    - Methadone was implic-ated (either on its own or with another drug) in 113 (56%) of the 220 deaths. The 113 deaths compared to 60 such cases in 2010 (a rise of 88%);

    - Diazepam (the most popular benzodiazepine) was implicated in 109 (50%) deaths, compared to 54 deaths in 2010 (a rise of 102%);

    - Cocaine-related deaths stabilised at 23, compared to 21 in 2010;

    - Heroin-related deaths fell from 70 in 2010 to 61 in 2011.

    The index comprises all deaths owing to poisonings, including both illicit drugs and legal substances such as alcohol and prescription medication. It does not include non-poisoning deaths, such as trauma (including suicides) or medical causes (such as heart problems and infections).

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  • Calls for radical change to chaotic addiction services across Ireland

    Posted on March 25th, 2013 TimB No comments

    Existing guidelines for those working with opiate users are controversial and heavily criticised, and a report seen by MI recommends a radical overhaul of how services are delivered. James Fogarty investigates

    The struggle to both balance the books and keep the health services afloat is an all consuming one. Drug addiction services are perhaps one of the casualties of this focus. Although recent figures compiled by the Health Research Board (HRB) said the annual number of drug-related deaths and deaths among drug users in Ireland decreased from 652 in 2009 to 575 in 2010, problems remain. Budget reductions, a continued scarcity of services outside the capital, and concern over the ICGP’s opiate treatment guidelines have combined to make a difficult area of medicine even more challenging.

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  • Drug-related deaths and deaths among drug users in Ireland

    Posted on February 6th, 2013 TimB No comments

    The Irish National Drug-Related Deaths Index (NDRDI) is an epidemiological database which records cases of death by drug and alcohol poisoning, and deaths among drug users and those who are alcohol dependent. The  NDRDI is maintained by the Health Research Board (HRB). It is jointly funded by the Department of Health and  the Department of Justice and Equality.

    Alcohol consumption has been reported as the third most detrimental risk factor for ill health and premature death in Europe. Official figures show 2010 recorded the first major drop in drug deaths following a rise in fatalities between 2004 and 2009.

    Dr Suzi Lyons of the Health Research Board said falls in heroin and cocaine deaths were the “main drivers” in the overall reduction in poisonings.

    “The overall trend across Europe is one of reductions in drug deaths. Between 2004 and 2009, we’ve seen numbers of deaths increasing. This is the first major decrease.” She said the figures for 2011 would show if this was a trend or whether 2010 was a one-off. She said a heroin drought in late 2010 could have led to a misleading drop in heroin deaths. She said there had been a “significant drop” in cocaine deaths in recent years, from a high of 66 in 2007 to 20.

    Dr Lyons said alcohol was the country’s biggest problem drug and the one most commonly treated. She said the number of deaths remained “consistently high”.


  • Oral substitution treatment of injecting opioid users for prevention of HIV infection (Review)

    Posted on September 7th, 2012 TimB No comments

    Injecting drug users are vulnerable to infection with HIV and other blood borne viruses as a result of collective use of injecting equipment as well as sexual behaviour.

    This review looks at original studies that reported the frequency or prevalence of risk behaviours, or information on HIV infection related to substitution treatment of opioid dependence to assess the extent to which oral substitution treatment prevents the transmission of HIV infection. It was not possible to accurately estimate the extent of reduction, but it is clear that oral substitution treatment reduces risk behaviours and also the probability of HIV infection amongst injecting drug users in substitution treatment.


  • Details of waiting lists of methadone clinics in Ireland

    Posted on August 8th, 2012 TimB No comments

    The number of people waiting for opioid substitution treatment in the 13-month period from the end of March 2011 to the end of April 2012 has fallen by 19 per cent, new figures reveal.

    The HSE has seen a reduction from 230 to 187 in the number of people on drug treatment waiting lists. Some 22 of its 48 clinics have no waiting times, and 33 of the 48 have waiting times of less than a month.

    The longest waiting times were in the Midlands (Portlaoise Clinic had an average waiting time (AWT) of 5.7 months), the North-East (Louth Drug Service had an AWT of 4.4 months), and in pockets of Dublin (Castle St Clinic had an AWT of 2.9 months).


  • HSE heroin treatment crisis fuels thefts surge

    Posted on May 28th, 2012 TimB No comments

    A crisis in the treatment of heroin addicts is helping to fuel a dramatic upsurge in burglaries across the country.

    Drug addicts in large swathes of the country are facing a waiting list of more than a year before gaining access to treatment.

    An Irish Independent investigation has found that heroin addicts in several areas outside Dublin, who want to be stabilised on methadone, are struggling to find a clinic or GP to take them on.

    It comes as the number of heroin addicts across the country has grown from 16,000 to 21,000 in the past five years.

    Much of the growth has been in cities such as Waterford, Limerick and Cork, fuelling an alarming spate of burglaries and thefts outside the capital.

    Latest figures show that burglaries jumped by 7.9pc last year, compared with 2010, rising to a total of 27,439 offences.

    A senior garda said: “There is no doubt that drug addiction, particularly among those hooked on heroin, helps fuel the amount of property crime.”

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  • Interview with Sarz Maxwell M.D. of the Chicago Recovery Alliance

    Posted on April 16th, 2012 TimB No comments


    This is a interview with Sarz Maxwell M.D . Sarz Maxwell, M.D., is a psychiatrist with the Chicago Recovery Alliance, and before that, she was with the Center for Addictive Problems methadone clinic in Chicago. The interview covers a variety of issues such as methadone, stigma and discrimination related to those clients on  Methadone Treatment  and Injecting Drug Users, the interview also covers Naloxone the life saving medication and finally chatting about her move to New Zealand .


  • Heroin treatment has itself become a problem

    Posted on April 15th, 2012 TimB No comments

    IRELAND has the highest number of heroin users per capita in the EU, according to the annual report by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction. Deaths for those on methadone programmes also appear to be on the rise.

    There were 9,264 people on the HSE methadone programmes nationwide at the end of October 2011. It is estimated that there are another 10,000 heroin users who are not currently on methadone.

    Methadone, once viewed as a way to wean a patient off opiates, has now become a fact of everyday life for many former heroin addicts. Each person accessing a methadone programme costs the State an average of €2,714.52 a year.

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