Heroin use is on the rise – study

by Gazette Reporter

Coolmine Therapeutic Community’s annual report for 2014 was launched recently and shows an increase in the number of people accessing drug rehabilitation services and an increase in heroin addiction.
The report, which was launched by Drugs Minister Aodhain O’Riordain, showed a 31% increase in demand for Coolmine Therapeutic Community, and an increase in heroin as the primary drug of choice for clients accessing services.
Last year, Coolmine Therapeutic Community supported 1,250 individuals in 2014 with a range of community, day and residential programmes. About 67% of those were female admissions and 49% were male admissions. Almost seven in every 10 women and half of the men in residential therapy, as well as 41% of those on the day programme cited their addiction to heroin.
At any one time, there were 34 clients participating in the five-month residential treatment programme at Coolmine Lodge, the male residential service. This represented a 33% increase in admissions compared to the previous year. Forty-two percent of the 120 new admissions were prison/probation referrals.
Occupancy also increased from 12 females to 24 at any one time in Coolmine Ashleigh House and the community and day services worked with 139 individuals during the year, up 11% from 2013.
“Coolmine’s longitudinal outcomes study found that, two years after therapy, 71% of clients were illicit drug-free; 97% did not engage in crime and 25% were engaged in employment,” said chairman Alan Connolly.
Coolmine’s housing and resettlement service supported over 250 clients to access accommodation in 2014. Thirty per cent of these clients got long-term stable accommodation through local authority/social housing providers and 34% moved in with their families or friends.
Pauline McKeown, chief executive, Coolmine Therapeutic Community, said: “Thirty-two mothers and 21 children were homeless or inadequately housed after completing their residential programme in 2014.
“Given the current housing shortage and restrictions for clients not being from the Dublin region, it is a cause of concern as there is a link between increased levels of homelessness and relapse.
“They have no local connection to their resettled area and are not deemed priority for housing access.”
A notable challenge was the development of the mother and child residential service at Coolmine Ashleigh House. Sixty-seven clients were in residence during 2014, including 18 mother and child admissions and four expectant mothers.
Funding has been secured to increase the residential capacity from 18 to 24 women at any one time, to meet the demand.
In addition, the creche facilities will be renovated to allow Coolmine to work with more children affected by parental substance misuse on a full-time residential basis.
Minister O’Riordain commended the facility for its model of service provision, saying it was a good example of the joined-up process that is required in order to provide continuity of care to problem drug users in their efforts to overcome their addiction.
“I want to thank the staff in the Coolmine Therapeutic Centre who carry out their work in a professional and dedicated manner and their annual report for 2014 shows the continued success and expansion of the centre’s work,” he said.

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