Unique approach

Dr Garrett McGovern – Medical Director & Founder

Dr McGovern is Medical Director and Founder of the Priority Medical Clinic, a private addiction treatment programme located in South County Dublin. He qualified in Medicine in 1995 from Trinity College Dublin and has worked as a GP specialising in the treatment of Addictive Disorders since the implementation of the methadone treatment protocol in 1998. He is ICGP Level 2 accredited in the treatment of opiate use and also treats drug users within the HSE Addiction Services, a position he has held since 1998. He has a caseload of over 300 patients with a range of addiction problems. He received his specialist addiction training in the UK and holds a Master’s degree in Clinical and Public Health Aspects of Addiction from the National Addiction Centre, King’s College London and is a diplomate of the International Society of Addiction Medicine (ISAM). ISAM certification is an accreditation examination for physicians specialising in Addiction Medicine worldwide and is the international equivalent of the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) Board exam. Dr McGovern is a founding member of the subcommittee for the Continuing Medical Education of General Practitioners specialising in Substance Abuse (GPSSA). He is also one of the first members of the International Doctors for Healthy Drug Policies (IDHDP) which is an international group of medical addiction experts aiming to promote sensible drug policies. He is a member of the board of directors of Europad, (European Opiate Addiction Treatment Association). He is a regular contributor to the medical and mainstream media on addiction related issues and peer reviews research articles prior to publication.

Approach & Philosophy

The Priority Medical clinic is the first medically led private OUTPATIENT addiction treatment programme in Ireland. Dr McGovern brings a wealth of experience having worked in the field since 1998. Our treatment  approach is pragmatic, evidence based, non-judgemental and individually tailored to the patient. There is a particular emphasis on improving mental , emotional and physical health and the use of cognitive behavioural therapy, individual counselling and relaxation techniques. The focus is on the individual rather than the drug and the programme is delivered in a way that reduces the stigma associated with addiction.

Addiction is a chronic relapsing condition which afflicts many families worldwide. The programme Dr McGovern has developed at the Priority Medical Clinic is evidence based and brings together the skills of specialists in addiction counselling, cognitive behavioural therapy, family therapy and relaxation therapy. This multidisciplinary collaborative approach provides patients with the best possible care in dealing with their addictions. It allows people to continue with normal life activities without impinging on important duties such as work and family life.

Drug addiction is recognised by the World Health Organisation as a chronic relapsing condition for which there is no known cure. It should be viewed no differently than other chronic medical illnesses. The ethos of Priority Medical Clinic is one of Harm reduction, “a term which defines policies, programmes, services and actions that work to reduce the health, social and economic harms to individuals, communities and society that are associated with the use of drugs”(Newcombe 1992).

  • An advanced,comprehensive and collaborative addiction recovery programme
  • Emphatic and patient centered approach
  • Evidence based interventions
  • Provides a comfortable, safe and positive environment
  • Emphasis on improving mental, emotional and physical health.
  • Programmes are tailored to meet individual needs.

Outpatient Addiction Treatment

Research shows that outpatient treatment is as successful as inpatient treatment in the management of alcohol and substance abuse. Outpatient treatment has a number of distinct advantages. It is significantly more cost effective and allows individuals to deal with their problems in their own environment. It also tends to be less stigmatising for patients who may find the inpatient setting quite daunting.

It is important to remember that inpatient and outpatient treatment should not be viewed as one or the other but rather a personal choice and one that should be reflective of need. For example if someone is working and wants to continue with everyday life without creating attention (particularly from their employers) it will likely be difficult to do so whilst receiving inpatient care. Alternatively, if a person is severely dependent on alcohol (i.e. drinking very early in the morning) they may need a period under medical supervision in an inpatient facility to prevent the complications of alcohol withdrawal (which can rarely be fatal). That said the vast majority of alcohol cases can be safely treated as an outpatient.


Please Note:


  • The clinic does not treat opiate dependence. The treatment of choice for this condition is not available privately and you are advised to contact local services in your area as treatment is usually determined by post code. Dr McGovern works in the public addiction treatment sector and has a wealth of experience treating opiate dependence. If you e-mail him on drmcgovern@prioritymedicalclinic.ie he may be able to point you in the right direction regarding availability of treatment of your area.


  • The clinic does not deal with emergency calls. If you require immediate treatment you are advised to consult your GP or local hospital emergency services.


  • The clinic does not treat persons under 18 and referral needs to be made, usually through a GP, to local adolescent addiction treatment services


  • If you require telephone advice on an addiction related issue but are not seeking treatment you are advised to contact the HSE drugs helpline on 1800 459 459


  • The clinic does not treat sexual disorders/ addiction or eating disorders and it is advised that you contact services that specialise in those areas.