News

29th May 2020

Coronavirus Ireland: Prescription drug abuse set to soar during lockdown

Prescription drug abuse is set to soar during lockdown as dealers turn from selling cocaine to anti-anxiety tablets, a leading addiction expert has warned. Michael Guerin said they appear to be supplying more tablets used for mental health conditions such as Xanax, as well as Diazepam which is normally prescribed for anxiety. The Cuan Mhuire addiction therapist said he expects there to be a drop in cocaine addicts presenting themselves for treatment once restrictions have been lifted as the narcotic is normally used as a recreational social drug.

Read the Dublinlive.ie article Here

25th May 2020

Coronavirus: why managed alcohol programmes are essential for problem drinkers who are homeless

People who are homeless are being particularly affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Common health problems such as respiratory disease put people who are homeless at more risk and self-isolation is impossible if you are living on the streets or in temporary accommodation. Those dependent on alcohol are at even greater risk as they need to continue using to prevent withdrawal, which can lead to serious health problems and sometimes death. But lockdown and self-isolation are challenging if you need to get a hold of alcohol.

Read The Conversation article Here

20th May 2020

Covid-19 exacerbates problems of alcoholics and their families, says support group

Public health restrictions during the Covid-19 pandemic have exacerbated the mental and emotional effects of living with a problem drinker, a support group has found.
“While fewer people are contacting the national helpline, the time that I need to give to callers is greater because their problems are more complex,” explains Julie, a volunteer with Al-Anon.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

19th May 2020

‘Concerning’ research shows level of alcohol consumption since COVID-19 restrictions

Drinkaware has said it is ‘concerning’ that Irish people’s alcohol consumption has increased during the COVID-19 lockdown. New research carried out by Behaviours & Attitudes for Drinkaware found that 25% of people are drinking more since restrictions were introduced in March. The study, which focused on the 30-day period leading up to April 24, found that 52% of adults are now drinking alcohol on a weekly basis.

Read the Extra.ie article Here

18th May 2020

Drug dealers calling in €30k drug debts from Cork families

Drug dealers are targeting families to call in €30k drug debts ‘owed’ by their children while the Covid-19 crisis impacts trade. Addiction therapist Michael Guerin of Cuan Mhuire rehabilitation centre said that calls from concerned parents whose children owe tens of thousands of euros to drug dealers have increased in recent weeks while trade in cocaine, anecdotally, has fallen. “None of these people were calling to say that their children owed €500. They owed big money. Tens of thousands of euros,” he said.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

14th May 2020

Minister for Health highlights advice and supports for people with alcohol related problems during COVID-19

Minister for Health, Simon Harris TD, and Minister of State for Health Promotion and the National Drugs Strategy, Catherine Byrne, today highlighted advice and supports for people with alcohol related problems during COVID-19.  COVID-19 poses additional risks to people with alcohol related problems.

Read the Gov.ie article Here

11th May 2020

CSO reveal around 20% of adults have increased alcohol intake during Covid-19 crisis

Wildly varying drinking habits have taken hold in Irish homes since the Covid-19 outbreak, as the mood of the nation falls far lower even than after the financial crash.
A report from the Central Statistics Office on the social impact of the virus in April found the percentage of men increasing their alcohol intake was almost 21%, while just over 23% of women did similar.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

7th May 2020

The Green Party calls for drug decriminalisation in Ireland

As they enter into formal coalition talks with Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, the Green Party have called for sweeping reforms of Ireland’s drug laws.
While it hasn’t been publicly mentioned as one, might it prove to be as much of a red line issue for Eamon Ryan & Co. as the 7% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions each year until 2030? Hot Press certainly hopes so.

Read the Hot Press article Here

13th April 2020

Psychiatrist calls for minimum age for alcohol to be raised after rise in contacts to helpline

A consultant psychiatrist is calling for the minimum age for alcohol to be raised to 21 to tackle addiction issues. It comes after new figures show the number of calls and emails to the HSE’s Drug and Alcohol Helpline increased by more than 29% last year. According to details released under the Freedom of Information Act, there were more than 5,500 contacts in 2019.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

8th April 2020

Anti-overdose medication training aims to protect drug users

Drug users in Dublin are being trained to administer an anti-overdose medication in a bid to minimise drug-related deaths during the coronavirus outbreak.
Merchants Quay Ireland (MQI), the largest voluntary drug treatment service in the State, is providing truncated classes to drug users in how to administer Naloxone, which blocks the effects of opiates. While training usually takes up to 30 minutes, five-minute sessions which respect social distancing measures, are being taken up by about five people a day at MQI’s Dublin premises.

Read the Irish Times artice Here

7th April 2020

Minister for Health to assist patients access to their medical cannabis products during Covid-19

Minister for Health Simon Harris TD has announced an initiative for patients who avail of a Ministerial licence for medicinal cannabis products to have the products delivered.
Speaking today, Minister Harris said: “I am aware that the limited number of patients who avail of a Ministerial licence for medicinal cannabis products issued under section 14 of the Misuse of Drugs Acts have been encountering difficulties with access owing to travel restrictions and people’s need to self-isolate.

Read the Gov.ie article Here

6th April 2020

A drop in demand for cocaine, a switch to cannabis: How the crisis is affecting drug crime in Ireland

At any one time in Ireland, there are crime gangs plotting their next moves, drug dealers waiting on their supply and homes turned into mixing rooms. The drug trade, and violent crime related to it, had been continuing as normal up to a few weeks ago. But the pandemic is having an effect here too. The coronavirus crisis has effectively decimated the drugs trade across Ireland and Europe.

Read the Journal.ie article Here

2nd April 2020

Don’t let your short-term crutch become a long-term drink problem

The wine and gin memes are coming thick and fast on WhatsApp, and god knows we need a laugh at the moment – and probably a crutch to get us through the kind of sweeping changes in our lives that were unimaginable just a month or two ago.
We’re weeks into home-schooling, working from home, social distancing and a non-stop torrent of worrying news from home and abroad, and we’re doing what we can to get by.

Read the Irish Times article Here

1st April 2020

Covid-19 cutting drug users and recovering addicts off from key supports

Derek (35) had been “stable, off heroin” for the past five months and was to start a residential detoxification programme next week. “I’d been working so hard to stay stable, stay clean,” he says. He had stayed away from friends “who drink” and was taking 30ml of methadone a day through a Health Service Executive programme.  Two weeks ago, however, he was told his detox place had been cancelled due the coronavirus outbreak.

Read the Irish Times article Here

31st March 2020

Opioid Addiction Is ‘A Disease Of Isolation,’ So Pandemic Puts Recovery At Risk

Before the spreading coronavirus became a pandemic, Emma went to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting every week in the Boston area and to another support group at her methadone clinic. She says she felt safe, secure and never judged. “No one is thinking, ‘Oh my God, she did that?’ ” says Emma, “’cause they’ve been there.” Now, with AA and other groups moving online, and the methadone clinic shifting to phone meetings and appointments, Emma is feeling more isolated. She’s still using heroin occasionally, which is why we’re not including her last name. Emma says the coronavirus may make it harder to stay in recovery.

Read the NPR article Here

30th March 2020

Drinking during the pandemic: Finding balance

Being asked to stay inside and keep our social distance means that many of us have more time on our hands. You might be feeling bored, anxious, or a little restless, and it could be hard to find things to do. If you’re going to be drinking at home during the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, try to take notice of your habits around your drinking, in order to make sure you’re keeping a balance.

Read the Spunout.ie article Here

27th March 2020

2019 data on alcohol consumption indicative of a small but encouraging reduction alcohol

Alcohol receipts for the year ended show a 0.05% decline, however when an estimated population data for 2019 is applied (CSO: population >15 years old – 3,912.6m) the figures for consumption, as a per capita, stand at 10.78 litres, indicative of a small but encouraging reduction – 2.13%, year on year. Within the sectoral receipts’ breakdowns, Wine shows a 1.43% consumption increase, Spirits a further 0.66% increase, year on year, while Beer indicates a 2.0% decrease and Cider a 1.74% reduction. There has been a 20% rise in Spirits consumption over a five-year period, 2015-2019.

Read the Alcohol Action article Here

26th March 2020

Impact of Covid-19 on drugs trade likely to hit recreational cocaine users most

The Covid-19 outbreak will cut demand for cocaine and other drugs if it leads to hundreds of thousands of people losing their jobs, gardaí believe. “The recreational drug-user – the guy who takes cocaine at weekends – may not be spending their money on cocaine, as we saw with the fall-off in usage during the economic crash in 2008,” said a Garda source. Heroin usage, given its highly addictive nature, is not expected to be affected since those needing a heroin fix are unlikely to be too aware or concerned about wider issues in society such as Covid-19.

Read the Irish Times article Here

24th March 2020

Public transport companies give details of alcohol and drugs tests

Irish Rail, Dublin Bus and Luas have all sacked or sanctioned drivers over the past three years for failing alcohol and drugs tests. Irish Rail said a minimum of 5 per cent (190) of all its 3,800 employees – across all roles – undergo random drug and alcohol testing every year. There were also “for cause” tests carried out after any incidents, spokesman Barry Kenny said. One train driver failed a test over the past three years, he added.
The employee was “subject to our disciplinary process” and “is no longer employed in a safety-critical role”.

Read the Irish Times article Here

22nd March 2020

Irish people drinking less alcohol, figures show

Irish people are now drinking less alcohol than in previous years, according to new provisional figures from Revenue. The amount of alcohol people in Ireland drank last year dropped by more than 2% when compared with 2018. Revenue’s provisional statistics show beer sales suffered a 2% drop, while cider sales were down just under 2%.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

6th March 2020

Six in ten people in Ireland have experience of addiction, new poll finds

Almost six in ten people in Ireland have direct experience of addiction, a new poll released today (Thursday 05.03.2020) has found The poll, commissioned by Merchants Quay Ireland to gain a snapshot of attitudes to addiction in Ireland, found that 59% of people said that they have direct experience of addiction, whether that be themselves, a family member, or a close friend. Encouragingly, the poll also found that there is widespread support for addiction treatment, with 85% of respondents agreeing that drug users should have access to the treatment they require.

Read the MQI article Here

28th February 2020

Colleges must provide alcohol-free student accommodation under new rules

Third-level colleges will have to provide drug and alcohol-free student accommodation and provide on-campus social spaces without access to drink under a new Government health initiative. The measures are contained in a “framework on tackling substance abuse” which was sent to the presidents of all higher-education institutions in recent days. The move follows concern over drug use among young people following the deaths of a number of college students from suspected overdoses in recent years.

Read the Irish Times article Here

25th February 2020

Crack houses operating like supermarkets as cocaine use sweeps across Limerick, politicians claim

Crack houses are operating like supermarkets as a surge in cocaine use sweeps across Limerick city, politicians claimed. Sinn Féin TD Maurice Quinlivan warned Limerick is on a cocaine collision course and the city could see a return serious gangland violence.

Read the Journal.ie article Here

24th February 2020

Tallaght residents the driving force behind pioneering drug-treatment project

DID you know that pioneering Tallaght residents were the driving force behind Ireland’s first community-owned drug treatment project? The Echo took some time out to speak with Liam Collins who, retiring at the end of February, is one of the founders of the Fettercairn Drug Rehabilitation Project (FDRP).

Read The Echo.ie article Here

18th February 2020

Primary school brings court challenge against first Irish supervised injection facility in Dublin

A primary school has brought a High Court challenge to planning permission for Ireland’s first supervised heroin injection facility. St Audoen’s National School, Cook Street, is immediately adjacent to the Merchant’s Quay Ireland (MQI) homeless and drug service centre on the city centre quays in Dublin.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

14th February 2020

Q&A: Here’s where Ireland’s political parties stand on drugs ahead of GE2020

The Journal.ie has asked the parties their stance on topics such as decriminalisation of drugs for personal use; supervised injection centres; minimum sentencing; and how they would tackle drug-related crime.
Here’s what they had to say.

Read The Journal.ie article Here

11th February 2020

Group suggests allowing nurses to prescribe methadone

A group representing nurses trained in Substance Misuse Treatment Services has said some people can’t access proper treatment quickly enough because their members have not been given the green light to prescribe drugs like methadone. The Health Research Board has previously said that in Ireland, where independent nurse prescribing of opioid substitute therapy (OST) is currently not permitted, the rate of drug-related deaths is high at over 3.5 times the European average.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

February 6th 2020

High time: Netherlands moves to clean up absurd cannabis policy

If there’s one contradiction that goes to the heart of why Dutch drugs policy has lost its way, it’s this: that while it’s legal for “coffee shops” to sell cannabis for personal consumption, growing the cannabis they sell is illegal and subject to stiff penalties that have forced production underground. The result of this wholly irrational arrangement has been to undermine pretty much every significant policy initiative since 1972, when a Labour-led coalition government took the innovative step of focusing public resources predominantly on hard drugs such as heroin and cocaine.

Read the Irish Times article Here

4th February 2020

Cocaine in Galway: ‘It’s not snowing, there is a blizzard’

A HSE addiction specialist has described the drug problem in Galway as the worst he had seen in his 28 years working in addiction services in Ireland, the UK and Australia.
Speaking about the use of cocaine at a Co Galway Joint Policing Committee (JPC) meeting on Monday, HSE clinical specialist in addiction Joe Treacy, said “it’s not snowing in Galway, there is a blizzard”.

Read the Irish Times article Here

27th January 2020

‘Young people need education on the effects of cannabis’

Social tolerance of cannabis use is higher than ever, but it is no time for complacency. A recent conference in Dublin organised by The Addiction Group at the Department of Public Health and Primary Health Care, TCD, highlighted the effects of cannabis use on the teenage brain, and gave insight into the current wave of research aimed at predicting use in young people.

Read the Independent.ie article Here

24th January 2020

Researchers who quizzed kids about cannabis didn’t ask about Class A drugs

Researchers who questioned children for a major Department of Health study on everything from their teeth to smoking cannabis didn’t ask them about Class A drugs. The study, which involved more than 15,000 school children, is supposed to be the most authoritative insight into the health and wellbeing of the country’s children. The Health Behaviours in School-aged Children (HBSC) 2018 report contains responses to questions about alcohol, cannabis and tobacco use.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

21st January 2020

‘Perfect storm’ for cocaine leads to record hauls

Ireland and the rest of Europe is experiencing a “perfect storm” in terms of a booming cocaine market, a leading expert has said. Michael O’Sullivan, director of the EU drugs interception body MAOC-N and a former Garda assistant commissioner, was commenting after his agency was involved in the seizure of almost 25 tonnes of cocaine in 2019, compared to around 16 tonnes in 2018.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

17th January 2020

How to change your relationship with alcohol

People who wish to reduce the amount of alcohol they consume are being reminded that support is available. According to the HSE, while many people set out to reduce their alcohol intake in January, some find it difficult to remain motivated as the month progresses. “Deciding to drink less is a great resolution, however if you find yourself struggling to maintain your motivation, it’s a good idea to think about why you want to change the way you drink.

Read the Irish Health article Here

14th January 2020

Building of new centre for Cork children battling drug and alcohol addiction to get underway

Work will get underway shortly on building a dedicated centre to help children in Cork city and county who are battling drug and alcohol addiction. News of the project was given to members of the Cork City and County Joint Policing Committee (JPC) by David Lane, coordinator of the Southern Regional Drug and Alcohol Taskforce.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

13th January 2020

Warning over sleeping aid pills sold in health stores that contain prescription hypnotic drugs

The Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) has warned the public that certain herbal sleeping aids being sold in Ireland contain an unauthorised prescription hypnotic drug. The HPRA said it is advising the public that U-Dream Full Night and U-Dream Lite were found to contain a substance that is similar to zopiclone, which is a prescription-only medicine.

Read the Journal.ie article Here

10th January 2020

Health Behaviour in School Aged Children Study 2018 – Alcohol & children

Alcohol Action Ireland (AAI) welcomes the publication of the Health Behaviour in School Aged Children Study (HBSC) 2018 today (Thursday 9 Jan), which provides a very valuable insight into the number of children who, all too early, initiate their experience with alcohol. AAI are pleased to see that there has been a modest increase in the number of school aged children who have never drank alcohol, across all social classes.

Read the Alcohol Action Ireland article Here

9th January 2020

Council street crews called out hundreds of times to clean up discarded needles on Dublin streets

was contacted by members of the public on more than 200 occasions in the past two years over drug paraphernalia, such as used needles, which had been discarded on the streets of the capital. Sources said hundreds more needles and items of drug litter were also collected by council staff who clean the streets around the city on a daily basis. 

Read the Journal.ie article Here

7th January 2020

‘GHB is a killer, I know of eight men who died after taking it’

More needs to be done to track sexual assaults and deaths related to chemsex in Ireland, one expert has said. Noel Sutton of the Gay Health Network (GHN) said he knows of at least eight men who have died after taking G in the last two years, including five in Ireland and three Irish men abroad. Chemsex is the use of drugs such as GHB/G, crystal methamphetamine, ketamine and mephedrone to enhance and prolong sexual activity. The practice is usually, but not exclusively, associated with men who have sex with men (MSM). 

Read the Journal.ie article Here

6th January 2020

Brendan Courtney one of only two to write in support of first drugs injection facility

TV personality, Brendan Courtney has emerged as one of only two members of the public to make a submission to An Bord Pleanála supporting the plan for the State’s first medically supervised injection facility (MSIF). Last month, An Bord Pleanála gave the plan by Merchant’s Quay Ireland (MQI) the go-ahead for the MSIF at the organsation’s Riverbank building at Dublin 8.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

3rd January 2020

10,000 deaths caused by alcohol-related illness and incidents

Ireland is drinking as much today as it did a decade ago, according to Alcohol Action Ireland. The group says that back 2010, the country’s drinking population was working its way through 11 litres of pure alcohol for each person. This corresponds to 46 bottles of Gin or close on 500 pints. Eight years later in October 2018, the Public Health Alcohol Act was enacted – the first measures of which only became law last month.

Read the Newstalk article Here

1st January 2020

Anxiety about going back to work might actually be ‘alcohol withdrawal symptoms’, claims expert

New Year’s revellers who feel anxious about returning to work after binge-drinking during the festive season may actually be suffering from alcohol withdrawal symptoms, according to a liver expert. Dr Mark Wright, a consultant in liver medicine at University Hospital Southampton (UHS), warned thousands of people will put feelings of nausea, shaking and general irritability down to “work dread” as the holiday season draws to a close.

Read the Journal.ie article Here

30th December 2019

Health minister asks media outlets not to use Drinkaware information

Minister for Health Simon Harris has written to Irish media outlets asking them not to use Drinkaware information. Drinkaware, an initiative that promotes safe drinking, is funded by major drinks brands including Diageo and Heineken.

Read the Journal.ie article Here

24th December 2019

Ad stating alcohol is a drug blocked as ‘too political’  

A philanthropic foundation has been blocked from running a hard-hitting anti- alcohol ad campaign. The Tomar Trust said they were told by a media agency that their ‘Drink is a Drug’ campaign, earmarked for two high-profile billboards on the Naas Road, Dublin, was “too political”. The campaign, to warn parents that alcohol consumption during teenage years causes lifelong brain damage, has previously run in print and outdoors.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

20th December 2020

More people are killed by drugs than cars

New members of Alcoholics Anonymous introduce themselves by their name and their admission of addiction. We all get the idea behind it: in order to address a problem, it is first necessary to recognise it. And though I don’t want to rain on anyone’s Christmas party, Ireland has a drug problem.

Read the Irish Times article Here

12th December 2019

Problem alcohol use in Ireland: Figures indicate a national crisis

If anyone in Ireland sustains an illusion that we do not have an alcohol abuse problem in this country, the latest report from the Health Research Board (HRB) offers a sobering reminder of a grim reality. There were more than 54,000 cases of people being treated for problem alcohol use in Ireland between 2012 and 2018, with almost 7,500 cases last year alone. The research also reveals that most heavy drinkers are already heavily dependent on alcohol when they seek treatment and many drink more in a day than is safe to do in a week. That makes treatment more complex and more difficult for health professionals who have to deal with alcohol related illnesses.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

9th December 2019

Denying cannabis link to mental illness is ‘like arguing earth is flat

Denying the links between cannabis and mental illness is like arguing the earth is flat, one of the country’s leading psychiatrists has suggested. Delivering the Irish Medical Organisation’s annual Doolin lecture on Saturday Dr Brendan Kelly, professor of psychiatry at Trinity College Dublin and consultant psychiatric to Tallaght Hospital said there was no doubt that cannabis was bad for mental health.

It is a pity the headline didn’t mention that Prof. Kelly also agreed that cannabis problems should be dealt with as a health issue and that users shouldn’t be criminalised.

Read the Irish Times article Here

6th December 2019

Homeless crisis opening up ‘cesspool’ of addiction

The State’s homelessness crisis has opened up a “cesspool” for those at the centre of it and is contributing to the growing problem of drug addiction, the founder of the Cuan Mhuire addiction treatment and rehabilitation service said. Speaking at Leinster House on Thursday after being presented with the Oireachtas Human Dignity Award, Sr Consilio Fitzgerald expressed concern for the 3,826 children among the more than 10,500 people living in emergency accommodation in the State.

Read the Irish Times article Here

3rd December 2019

Medical cannabis ‘will change lives’, advocates say

Patients are set to get “life-changing” medical cannabis before Christmas thanks to the approval of two products for sale here. Campaigners and patients criticised the slow progress of the roll-out of medical cannabis which has forced many sufferers to purchase the product on the black market or travel abroad for the drug. However, the Health Products Regulatory Authority has now paved the way for those suffering with multiple sclerosis (MS), the nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy, and those with treatment-resistant epilepsy to receive the drugs within a matter of weeks.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

2nd December 2019

Court dismisses man’s murder appeal on grounds of alcoholism, but admits issue may need to be explored

The Court of Appeal has rejected an “unusual” argument that a man’s alcoholism diminished his responsibility for murdering an ex-girlfriend, but added that the issue may need to be explored in the future. Michael McDonald (aged 56), an alcoholic with an address at Barnhill, Castledermot, Co Kildare, had admitted killing Breda Cummins (aged 31) in Athy, Co. Kildare, on May 13, 2010, but denied it was murder.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

29th November 2019

24-hour helpline to direct callers to over 1,000 mental health support services

A national 24-hour hotline to advise concerned callers about contacting over 1,000 mental health supports and services will be launched today. The National Ambulance Service will operate and oversee the helpline which can be accessed through a freephone number. The mental health information helpline will also be involved in rolling out counselling, psychology, and psychiatry initiatives as well as a special textline in the coming months.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

28th November 2019

Smoking levels falling faster than increases in e-cigarette use

The number of people taking up e-cigarettes is lower than the amount who have quit smoking in recent years, new figures show. In the last five years the portion of the population who smoke has fallen from 23 to 17 per cent, according to the latest Healthy Ireland survey. Over the same period the number of people who reported to be e-cigarette or vape users only increased by two per cent, from three to five per cent of the population.

Read the Irish Times article Here

19th November 2019

HSE checking all Irish vaping products for ingredient linked to US illnesses

HSE review is checking e-cigarette products on the Irish market for the ingredient linked to a recent outbreak of lung illnesses in the US. So far, none of the products on the Irish market have been found to contain the ingredient ‘vitamin E acetate’.

Read the Journal.ie article Here

 

15th November 2019

‘You don’t know what’s in them’: Warning against buying medicines on the internet as over 350,000 pills seized

Over 350,000 UNITS of prescription medicines bought online have been seized by Ireland’s medicine watchdog so far this year. From January to August, a total of 363,820 tablets, capsules, and vials of medicines purchased over the internet have been discovered.

Read the Journal.ie article Here

 

12th November 2019

Lynn Ruane: Harm reduction should always come first with criminal drug policy

On my birthday last month, I was lucky enough to be sitting in a room full of like-minded people to discuss global alliances in the pursuit for fairer drug policy and criminal justice reform. Not a typical birthday, but I was excited to sit around a table and listen to discussion from the people I always feared the most: prosecutors. Fair and Just Prosecution (FJP) work with elected prosecutors around the US to support and develop new ways of thinking about the justice system. Everyone in the room was talking about all the things I’ve been passionately advocating for my entire life.

Read the Journal.ie article Here

 

17th October 2019

Local politicians express concern at ‘cocaine epidemic’ sweeping across parts of Limerick

A “cocaine epidemic” is sweeping across parts of Limerick, local politicians have claimed. Detections for possession of drugs for sale or supply locally have increased 14% on last year, rising from 325 to 474, according to the latest local garda crime statistics. Detections of drugs for personal use has risen 46%, from 107 to 122.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

 

24th July 2019

Dr McGovern talks to Ivan Yates on Newstalk’s Hard Shoulder about Cocaine addiction

Newstalk Breakfast and The Hard Shoulder are bringing you a new series over the next two weeks ‘Cocaine Nation’, where we look at the rise in Cocaine use right across the country. Dr Garrett McGovern, Medical Director & GP Specialising in Addiction Medicine told Ivan all about the effect cocaine has on the body.

Listen to Newstalk’s On the Couch interview with Dr McGovern Here

15th July 2019

Irish Times view on Benzodiazepine use: a cause for concern

Benzodiazepines are a family of drugs used in the short-term treatment of problems with sleep and anxiety. When first approved for use, their potential for addiction and tolerance was not recognised.
Now, strict prescribing guidelines mean they should not be routinely prescribed for more than four weeks. Benzodiazepines and a newer class called z-drugs are together classified as benzodiazepine and Z- drug receptor agonists (BZRAs).

Read the Irish Times article Here

 

18th June 2019

On average, Irish men who drink alcohol binge drink 22 times a year

Just over half of Irish drinkers under the age of 34 (52%) binge drink on a weekly basis, compared to the national average of 18%, according to the 2019 Drinkaware Index report. The report found that drinkers under the age of 34 binge drink an average of 43 times a year, three times more often than the overall drinking population in Ireland, who were found to binge drink 16 times a year, a little over once a month.

Read The Joe.ie article Here

 

11th June 2019

Concerns at trends with cannabis, ecstasy and heroin

The quantity of heroin seized in the EU increased by more than a tonne in 2017 to 5.4 tonnes. In addition, a further 17.4 tonnes was seized in Turkey — some of which would have been destined for the EU market.
The report, published by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, said there were record levels of opium production in Afghanistan. The report said a “worrying development” is the 81 tonnes of the heroin precursor chemical acetic anhydride seized in the EU in 2017, with a further 242 tonnes of it seized in stopped shipments.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

 

6th June 2019

Editorial: ‘Gambling reform pace far too slow’

Like many aspects of social life in Ireland, gambling is widely seen as a bit of fun, marketed by those within what is a multi-million euro industry as part and parcel of society today. In many ways, this suits the Government, as the gambling industry raises at least €100m a year in taxes for the State. The value of the Irish gambling market annually has been estimated as being between €6bn and €8bn.

Read The Independent.ie Editorial Here

 

21st May 2019

Should cannabis be legalised?

Proposals to liberalise the laws on cannabis and other illegal drugs are expected to be brought before Cabinet within weeks. The plans envisage a move to providing drug counselling, addiction treatment and other health interventions for many users found in possession of small amounts of drugs for personal use. While yesterday, a group of 20 senior doctors warned about increasingly relaxed attitudes towards cannabis. Ciara Kelly talks Dr Garrett Mc Govern – GP specialising in addiction medicine at the Priority Clinic Dundrum and gets a huge response from listeners

Listen to Newstalk’s Lunchtime Live interview Here

 

20th May 2019

Ireland ‘sleepwalking’ into liberal cannabis regime, warn doctors

A letter signed by 25 doctors warning against the ‘liberalisation’ of cannabis was published in the Irish Times. Whilst cannabis is not a harmless drug it is clear that criminalising users increase the harm. Also in juridictions where cannabis is legal there has not been an increase in use.

Read The Irish Times letter Here

17th May 2019

Govt to set up independent regulator to oversee gambling industry

An independent regulator, with 100 staff, to clamp down on gambling will be in place by the end of next year. The Government said without the body there is no prospect of progressing modern licensing and regulation of the industry. It will be funded largely by bookmakers and will be responsible for tackling addiction, underage betting, match-fixing and online regulation. 

Read The Irish Examiner article Here

16th May  2019

‘The cocaine trade is booming’: 54% of Irish people who use cocaine want to cut down

A self-funded survey of illegal drug use in countries across the world has found that 54% of Irish respondents who use cocaine want to use less of the substance next year, and of this number 14% want help to do so.
This compares to a global average of 41.5% and 12.7% respectively.

Read The Journal.ie article Here

 

27th March 2019

Weekly bottle of wine increases cancer risk in same way as 5-10 cigarettes – study

Drinking a bottle of wine per week increases the lifetime risk of cancer by the equivalent of smoking five to 10 cigarettes, research suggests. For women, drinking one bottle of wine per week increases the absolute lifetime risk of cancer to the same extent as smoking 10 cigarettes a week, mostly due to an increased risk of breast cancer caused by drinking, according to the study.

Read The Irish Times article Here

 

22nd March 2019

Rise in ‘severe’ alcohol use, say experts

Growing numbers of people have developed a “severe” alcohol problem by the time they seek treatment, an official report shows.
The Health Research Board (HRB) said this makes treatment more complex and recovery more difficult. Publishing their latest alcohol treatment figures, the HRB said that while the number of treatment cases for alcohol has reduced over the last seven years, a far greater proportion have the most serious form of abuse.

Read The Irish Examiner article Here

 

21st March 2019

Codeine addiction surges as workers seek hangover cure

A pill-popping workplace culture where colleagues take codeine as hangover cures and at break times is leading to an increased demand for addiction treatment and a need for education, according to health professionals. The availability of benzodiazepines and opiates online is also a growing problem where people are buying tablets with no idea how weak or strong the counterfeit products are, leading to accidental overdoses.

Read The Independent.ie article Here

 

15th March 2019

‘It destroys families’: Sister of mother-of-two, 41, who died from alcohol addiction

The family of a mother-of-two who collapsed and died last week are hoping that they can help others battling alcohol addiction. Tracy Guy, 41, died suddenly last week at her Omagh home. The cause of her death was recorded as alcohol poisoning/liver disease. Ms Guy was a mother-of-two and leaves behind her 11-year-old daughter and one-year-old son.

Read The Breaking News.ie article Here

 

16th February 2019

90% of gambling addicts treated by HSE are young men

Over nine in every 10 people reported by the HSE as being treated for a gambling addiction in the past four years were men, new statistics have shown. Furthermore, it is predominantly young men who present for gambling addiction with the median age of those seeking treatment in recent years at 35 years old.

Read The Journal.ie article Here

 

14th February 2019

‘Not drifting towards a gambling crisis, we’re in the middle of one’: 800 addiction cases treated by HSE

There have been at least around 800 cases in Ireland where people sought help with gambling addiction since 2015, but these official HSE figures have been labelled “the tip of the iceberg”. The figures were released to Sinn Féin’s Louise O’Reilly, who asked Minister for Health Simon Harris how many people had been treated for gambling addiction since 2015.

Read The Journal.ie article Here

 

3rd February 2019

Dr McGovern was interviewed by Ivan Yates on Newstalk’s The Hard Shoulder about the phenomenon of the “functioning alcoholic

Dr McGovern discusses the issue of alcohol harm and drinking perceptions in Irish culture. This interview followed from an article which appeared in the UK media where ex footballer Rio Ferdinand said that he drank quite heavily between games when he was at the peak of his playing career.

Listen to Newstalk’s Hard Shoulder interview Here (interview is towards the end of Part 2)

 

14th January 2019

Dr McGovern on Newstalk’s Between the Lines with Andrea Gilligan

Dr McGovern was invited into the Newstalk studio to take part in a debate around Irish attitudes to alcohol/ Also taking part in the debate was Dr Bobby Smyth, Senior Lecturer in Trinity College Dublin and consultant psychiatrist in adolescent addiction and counsellor Ann Marie McMahon formerly of St John of God Hospital and now working in private practice.

Listen to the Newstalk Between the Lines discussion Here

 

8th November 2018

Doctor ashamed over cannabis medicine as families forced to travel abroad

A top addiction specialist said he is “ashamed” of his profession as it has failed families in Ireland who are forced to travel abroad to access cannabis-based medicinal products.
Garrett McGovern, a doctor who specialises in drug and alcohol addiction, said it was a disgrace that parents have to fight for medication that is “immeasurably changing” the lives of their sick children.

Read The Irish Examiner article Here

 

20th June 2018

Addiction to video games is now a recognised illness

Addiction to video games will officially be recognised as a mental disorder from today.
The World Health Organisation has included “gaming disorder” in a new draft of its International Classification of Diseases (ICD), which was released today.
The entry for the illness says that those who suffer have trouble controlling their behaviours around gaming and give it precedence over the rest of their lives.

Read The Journal.ie article Here

 

5th June 2018

Huge rise in numbers attending for treatment for cocaine use

Dr McGovern talked to Ciara Kelly on Newstalk’s lunchtime live about data from the HRB which showed an increase in numbers seeking treatment. It is not clear if this is an actual rise in numbers using cocaine or that it may be perhaps a reduce in the stigma associated with seeking treatment.

Listen to the Newstalk interview Here

 

26th April 2018

Dr McGovern talked to Ivan Yates on Newstalk’s Hard Shoulder about e-cigarettes

E-cigarettes have been used for a number of years for people who want to stop smoking and have been shown to be much safer than conventional cigarettes. Despite this health policy makers in Ireland are doubtful about their role in smoking cessation.

Listen to The Hard Shoulder interview Here (interview is towards the end of Part One)

 

23rd April 2018

Relatives of gambling addicts would prefer them to be hooked on heroin instead, expert claims

Many relatives of gambling addicts believe it would be better if their relative was hooked on heroin such is the utter devastation, an expert has claimed. Barry Grant, an addiction counsellor and CEO of charity Problem Gambling Ireland (PGI), has said much more needs to be done to educate and support young people and adults.

Read The Irish Mirror article Here

17th April 2018

Should cannabis be legalised in Ireland?

Dr McGovern was interviewed on Newstalk’s Lunchtime Live about the current law around cannabis in Ireland and whether or not these laws work. There is a push by the Green Party to look at decriminalising cannabis use and legalising the drug so that it would be available in cannabis style coffee shops such as exist in Holland.

Listen to Newstalk’s Lunchtime Live Here

 

20th March 2018

Dr McGovern talked to Ciara Kelly on Newstalk’s Lunchtime Live show

Is excessive drinking normalised in Ireland? Do the Irish have a strange relationship with alcohol? Would Minimum Unit pricing work? These questions and more are discussed on the programme.

Listen to Newstalk’s Lunchtime Live programme Here

 

31st January 2018

Do we need to change our attitude towards drug addicts?

Dr McGovern and Dawn Russell were interviewed by Ciara Kelly on Newstalk about how drug users are treated by society. Should drugs be criminalised or should they be treated as an having an illness?

Listen to the Newstalk interview Here

 

27th November 2017

Delay in supervised injecting rooms – Dr McGovern talks to Newstalk breakfast

There has been a delay in the opening of the first medically supervised injecting centre (MSIC) in the city centre amid concerns that planning permission may need to be sought and that this could take over nine months to secure. Dr McGovern talked to Paul Williams about this delay as well as the benefits of MSIC for injecting drug users as well as the city’s bystanders, residents and business owners.

Listen to the Newstalk Breakfast interview Here

 

27th October 2017

Dr McGovern talks to Ivan Yates on Newstalk’s Hard Shoulder about problem drinking

Dr McGovern and Journalist Declan Lynch discussed alcohol abuse with Ivan Yates. Issues such as how to spot a problem drinker and the language used in describing people who abuse alcohol were discussed as well as the role and effectiveness of AA and other interventions.Listen to Newstalk’s Hard Shoulder Here (interview starts about  halfway through Part One) Here

 

8th September 2017

Dr McGovern talks to George Hook on Newstalk’s High Noon about medicinal cannabis

Minister of Health Simon Harris issued advice regarding access to medicinal cannabis last May and that only medical consultant’s could apply for a licence. Despite that, no applications have been made and, as it stands, no patient in Ireland has access to this product.

Listen to the High Noon interview Here

 

19th July 2017

Dr McGovern talks to George Hook on Newstalk’s High Noon about alcohol addiction

Dr McGovern talked to George Hook about Alcoholics anonymous, 12 steps and his own particular focus of treatment. There is no specific intervention that works every time in every patient who suffers from alcohol dependence. Each person presents a specific set of problems that might do better with a particular type of treatment philosophy.

Listen to The High Noon interview Here

 

6th July 2017

Should drug injection centres be allowed in busy areas? Dr McGovern talks to Newstalk breakfast

Legislation was  passed in the Oireachteas in May 2017 to allow the first Medically Supervised Injecting Centre (MSIC) to open in Dublin. The process will be put out for tender soon. Mannix Flynn, Dublin City Counsellor and Dr Govern debated the issue of MSIC and their effectiveness in reducing drug related problems in the city centre

Listen to the Newstalk debate Here

 

20th April 2017

Dr McGovern talks to Matt Cooper on The Last Word about new drug driving laws

Minister Shane Ross has introduced new laws regarding driving and the presence of drugs in one’s system. New roadside tests have been developed to aid this process. This will not be without complications and convictions may well be challenged in court.

Listen to the Last Word piece Here (Click on April 12th episode and interview starts at 38:27)

7th April 2017

Journal.ie Video Debate: Supervised injecting rooms

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Dr McGovern and Adrian Cummins, CEO of the Irish Restaurants Association were invited to participate on the Journal.ie video debate about the location of Ireland’s first supervised injecting room. A Bill has been unanimously passed in the Oireachteas to allow this facility to be opened. The location, however, has not yet been chosen.

Watch The Journal.ie video debate Here

 

5th April 2017

Dr McGovern on Newstalk.  Medical Cannabis can be effective in the treatment of chronic pain

Dr McGovern was invited on Newstalk to discuss with George Hook the role of medical cannabis in the treatment of chronic pain. Legislation has been passed that makes provision for the use of cannabis for a range of chronic conditions although chronic pain is not included (in a recent HPRA report).

Listen to Newstalk’s High Noon interview Here

3rd March 2017

‘Don’t let the hidden harm of alcohol abuse define you’ – experiences of a son

For Christmas 2015, there were no sleigh bells. There were no merry drinks with family. There was no exchanging of presents. Instead, there was the sound of an ambulance. There were empty bottles of wine in my mother’s unmade bed. The only exchange was my mother’s medical history with the paramedics. There was no Christmas dinner. Nor were there any presents tucked underneath the naked Christmas tree. On December 25th, I found my mother lying at the bottom of the stairs with her ribs broken as a result from drinking too much alcohol.

Read the Irish Times article Here

 

8th February 2017

Supervised injecting centres move one step closer

Dr McGovern was invited to talk on Today FM’s The Last Word with Matt Cooper to discuss the proposal for supervised injecting centres in the Dublin City Centre. Fianna Fáil councillor Mary Fitzpatrick also joined the discussion. A Bill has been passed in the Dáil to allow this centre to operate so that drug users who will use the centre will not be prosecuted while entering the facility with illicit drugs for the purpose of using.

Listen to The Last Word interview Here

 

5th January 2017

Dr McGovern interviewed on RTE Radio’s Sean O’Rourke show about electronic cigarettes

E-cigarettes are an emerging tool for smokers to help them quit with possibly as many as 130,000 users in Ireland. Reports from the Royal College of Physicians in the UK and Public Health England that e-cigs are at least 95% safer than conventional cigarettes there is still much controversy about their use. Dr Pat Doorley of ASH Ireland joins the discussion.

Listen to the RTE Radio One interview Here

 

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