Urgent demand for drug and alcohol treatment strategy

by Rachel Cunningham
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Rachel Cunningham

A national drug and alcohol treatment charity has launched a new four-year strategy aiming to grow its capacity by 20 per cent by 2026 amid a significant increase in demand for its services.

Coolmine has noted the increase demand as trends show a significant increase in problem drug use, with a 19 per cent growth in cocaine use.

The Responsive Sustainable Recovery 2023-2026, which will be implemented over a four year period, seeks to expand the service range and availability for those battling addiction as record numbers of people with problem cocaine and crack cocaine use are recorded in 2023. 

In the first six months of 2023, Coolmine noted an increase in demand for its residential treatment programmes across all of its 15 service centres and 22 satellite offices.

Over 1,500 individuals were supported by Coolmine in the first 6 months of 2023. This represents a 35 per cent increase on the same period in 2022. 

The strategy will support the charity’s fundraising efforts to continue its work supporting clients on their journey to recovery.

Cocaine and alcohol were identified as the two most prevalent problem drugs for clients seeking treatment.

Growing cocaine use represents a shift from last year, when heroin was visible as the main problem drug affecting those entering treatment.

Cocaine is now the main presenting drug among the Traveller community, with 36 per cent seeking assistance with cocaine addiction.

Against the backdrop of a deepening drugs crisis and with the Citizens’ Assembly on Drugs due to report its recommendations, Coolmine is urging all stakeholders to urgently roll out robust health-based treatment programmes. 

“All Coolmine services are working at full capacity across the country. We have 52 men and 24 women assessed and ready today for admission to our residential services. We do not have capacity to meet this demand currently,” said Pauline McKeown, CEO of Coolmine.

“Society as a whole must respond to this and the Citizens Assembly will hopefully inform that response so that anyone who finds themselves battling addiction will have the necessary resources and service available to overcome it.”

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