25th November 2021

Drug-related intimidation ‘normalised’ way of resolving disputes, seminar hears

Drug-related intimidation is to some extent seen as a “normalised dispute resolution mechanism” in parts of Dublin city, an online policing conference has heard. The webinar, on how different organisations can support housing associations and other organisations to tackle organised crime, heard from a number of Irish and UK speakers, including principal officer Rose Sweeney, who heads the Garda National Community Engagement Bureau, and Ana Liffey Drug Project CEO, Tony Duffin.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

22nd November 2021

Assembly on drugs should take place next year, campaign group says

A campaign group has called on Taoiseach Micheál Martin to use his influence to ensure a Citizens’ Assembly on drugs takes place next year, saying cocaine use had risen by more than 10,000 per cent in 25 years in the State. The CityWide Drugs Crisis Campaign cited data on increased drug use from the national drug treatment reporting system as it called for a policy rethink “based on the evidence of what actually works”.

Read the Irish Times article Here

18th November 2021

Domhnall Nugent’s battle back from addiction and homelessness

While he was at the Cuan Mhuire rehab centre in Newry, Antrim hurler and dual player Domhnall Nugent wrote in a journal at the end every day. “Be excited about who you want to become.” It was a simple message but a strong one. It was 2019 and Nugent spent three months at the centre. He walked into the facility, dishevelled. A nervous wreck. He left with hope that life could still mean something.

Read the Irish Times article Here

17th November 2021

A guide to helping employees with addiction

Addiction in any form whether substance or behaviour related is often shrouded in secrecy and the person suffering from addiction may feel stigmatised, this is true within the workforce as in any area of life. This often leads to denial from both employees and employers about problems concerning alcohol and drug misuse within the workplace, as Rob Lloyd, Managing Director at Prevention Digital, explains.

Read the Safety and Health Practitioner article Here 

12th November 2021

Moderate alcohol consumption ‘should not be recommended for health reasons’

A new study contradicts previous findings that link moderate alcohol consumption to health benefits and a longer life. The researchers found that those who abstain from alcohol may have a higher mortality rate because of risky behaviors in which they engaged earlier in life. The study also shows that people who abstain from alcohol and who have no other risk factors, such as smoking or poor self-reported health, are not statistically more likely to die at an early age than those with low to moderate alcohol intake.

Read the Medical News Today article Here

11th November 2021

Students take a stand against ‘drink spiking’

Students are taking a stand against reports of drug “spiking” as third level institutes launch campaigns to highlight the risks. The Institute of Technology (IT) Carlow Students’ Union has announced an initiative aimed at curbing the recent increase in students’ drinks being spiked. ‘Spike-Watch’ involves students’ union staff and volunteer students patrolling popular bars in Carlow town.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

8th November 2021

UNAIDS calls for action against the criminalization of people who use drugs and for community-led harm reduction programmes

On International Drug Users’ Day, UNAIDS is calling for urgent action against the criminalization of people who use drugs, for the redress of criminalization’s negative effects on HIV, viral hepatitis and other health issues, for the respect of human rights and for more funding for community-led harm reduction programmes.

Read the UNAIDS article Here

2nd November 2021

Alert for Ireland on cancers driven by alcohol.

Between five and 10 individuals per 100,000 people in Ireland are developing cancer every year as a result of their alcohol use, according to the World Health Organisation. It places Ireland on the second of four tiers in Europe for incidence of “alcohol-attributable cancers”. A statement from the World Health Organisation European Region says there is “no safe level of alcohol consumption for cancer” and that all types of alcohol are linked to it.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

20th October 2021

Just 2%-3% of people with alcohol dependency entering treatment, study suggests

The number of people receiving treatment for alcohol dependency in Ireland is considerably less than the number of people with drink problems, according to the findings of new research. A study by the Health Research Board said the rate of admissions of people for treatment for their alcohol problems was “sub-optimal”, give the high level of alcohol consumption and alcohol dependence in the adult population.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

19th October 2021

A growing problem for women in the workplace: Alcohol addiction

Women now drink as much as men. In fact, they now comprise the fastest growing population of alcohol users in the U.S. A study that examined changes in drinking patterns between 2002 and 2013 sponsored by the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) found substantial increases in women and problematic drinking trends, noting that the frequency of alcohol use disorder (AUD) among women increased 83.7%. The same study also revealed that high-risk drinking — defined as consuming more than three drinks per day or seven in a week for women — has increased by about 58%.

Read the article Here

18th October 2021

Alcohol ads on-screen ‘every 15 seconds’ at rugby game

References to alcohol appeared on-screen every 15 seconds during one of Ireland’s Six Nations games at the Aviva stadium last year, a study has shown. Research on marketing by drinks brands in the rugby tournament found 1,444 references to alcohol across the two matches played in Ireland last year. There were 690 references (3.8 per minute or once every 16 seconds) during the clash with Scotland and 754 references (4.0 per minute or once every 15 seconds) in the Wales match.

Read the article Here

15th October 2021

Recovering from alcohol addiction in prison: Bruce shares his story

In prison, just listening to a person can heal deep emotional wounds and become a first step towards recovery from alcohol or substance use. WHO shares the story of Bruce who reflects on his experience of dealing with alcohol addiction in a prison environment. The story will be highlighted at WHO’s 71st Regional Committee for Europe meeting where policy-makers from 53 countries will discuss new policies for better health in prisons to ensure equivalence of care and more collaborative recovery projects between prisons and communities.

Read the WHO article Here

12th October 2021

Councillors agree motion to explore safe injection centre for drug users

South Dublin County Council is to examine the scope for setting up a safe injection centre for drug users in the area. At a meeting held on Monday, councillors supported a motion that called on the chief executive of SDCC to engage with the Tallaght and Clondalkin Drugs and Alcohol Task Forces, the HSE addiction services and community drug treatment projects to “explore the setting up of a medically supervised safe injection facility, within our county”.

Read the Irish Times article Here

11th October 2021

New report reveals scale of alcohol promotion throughout Six Nations Rugby championship

Alcohol Action Ireland, the national independent advocate for reducing alcohol harm, in partnership with the Institute of Alcohol Studies (London) and Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems – SHAAP (Edinburgh), today (Thursday, 30 September) have published a new frequency analysis study into alcohol marketing during the 2020 Six Nations Rugby Championship.

Read the Alcohol Action Report Here

6th October 2021

Warnings over dangers of ‘fake’ THC edibles

There has been a warning that “fake” THC edibles could lead to hospitalisation, psychosis, and even to the death of those who take them, with many doing so under the belief they are taking natural, herbal cannabis. Synthetic cannabinoids, such as spice, have been found to be present in a small number of “edibles” products sold under the guise of containing  THC, a spokesperson for An Garda Síochána has confirmed.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

4th October 2021

Nearly 5m antidepressants, anti-anxiety drugs dispensed up to August 2021

Irish pharmacists are dispensing an increasing number of antidepressants, mood stabilisers, and tranquillisers, with close to 5m such prescriptions dispensed in the first eight months of this year. Almost 4,794,000 prescriptions for antidepressants, mood stabilisers, and tranquillisers were dispensed between January and August — 15% more than the same period in 2019, when some 4,173,00 such prescriptions were filled.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

24th September 2021

Gardaí warn college freshers of the dangers of recreational drug use

Gardaí are appealing to students starting college and university this week to avoid the harmful consequences of drug misuse. As part of their ‘Campus Watch’ programme, gardaí today launched their #Riseabovetheinfluence drug awareness campaign highlighting the risks of recreational drugs as well as the “anxiety, addiction and psychosis” taking sleeping pills or unprescribed “study drugs” can lead to.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

21st September 2021

‘He owed money and these people wanted money’: Drugs, debts and the silent toll on families

The banging on the door in the middle of the night was the first Emer knew there was something wrong. It was drug dealers, looking for money. Owed by her son. “My son was involved in drug use from a young age that I wouldn’t have noticed, with his friends,” Emer said. She said the group “meddled” with drugs for a while, but that most stopped and moved on. But her son didn’t, for reasons she still doesn’t understand.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

20th September 2021

Experts want pilot project to test drugs at music festivals

The Government should set up a pilot project to test illegal drugs at music festivals – in what would be Ireland’s first-ever trial of the harm reduction tool. But an expert committee making the recommendation said the support of the Department of Justice and An Garda Síochána was “required” and said law enforcement barriers “remain an obstacle”.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

17th September 2021

As addiction rates soar, employers can offer a lifeline

With the future uncertain, employees may be relying too heavily on unhealthy coping mechanisms, developing dangerous problems with alcohol and drugs that can impact their lives for decades to come. “Half of American workers appear to be having trouble with substance use, and of those people, about a third report that it’s been impacting their work more since the pandemic started,” says Dr. Dan Jolivet, workplace possibilities practice consultant at insurance company, The Standard. “The average recovery for a person with an addiction in the U.S. looks to be about 20 years. So we want to get people treatment. We want to get these issues out into the open.”

Read the Benefit News article Here

16th September 2021

Nitrous-oxide: Laughing gas hits a new high in Ireland.

It took less than 48 hours for the package of 10 “cream whipper canisters” to arrive after it was ordered from an Irish website. Each canister contained approximately one dose of nitrous-oxide. Ostensibly these small cylinders, which resemble silver bullets, are for making whipped cream using a specialised dispenser. But in recent years, and particularly during the Covid-19 lockdowns of the past 18 months, they have become an increasingly popular way of getting high.

Read the Irish Times article Here

13th September 2021

‘No plans’ to reinstate HSE rehab unit closed during pandemic

“THERE ARE NO plans” to reinstate a HSE drug rehab unit closed 18 months ago and now operating as a Covid isolation facility.  That is according to a HSE response this month, seen by Noteworthy, to a parliamentary question (PQ) on the Keltoi Rehab Unit in Dublin.

Read the article Here

10th September 2021

Gambling industry must pay for addiction treatment

The Minister of State at the Department of Justice, James Browne, is due to bring forward a new regulatory framework for gambling this autumn. Since previous minister for justice Alan Shatter’s Gambling Control Bill was drafted in 2013, each year brought more disappointment that successive governments failed to enact new legislation. Shatter’s legislation represented an excellent starting point for gambling harm minimisation and player protection but every year we were left wondering why it was apparently so difficult to implement.

Read the Irish Times article Here

7th September 2021

How just a single beer or glass of wine can affect your heart

A new study has found that consuming alcohol, even as little as one can of beer or one glass of wine, can quickly increase the risk of a common type of cardiac arrhythmia known as atrial fibrillation in people who have a history of the condition.

Read the Irish Times article Here

6th September 2021

Ireland’s first mobile Harm Reduction Unit – The Vana Liffey

 A new mobile harm reduction unit has been launched in Dublin. It will operate four times a week and provide sterile equipment such as needles and crack pipes. The ‘Vana Liffey’ launched on International Overdose Awareness Day and aims to reduce the risk of drug related harms.

Read and listen to the Newstalk Breakfast article Here

3rd September 2021

Parents warned against allowing teens to drink as study reveals underage alcohol use in Australia

More than a quarter of Australians aged 16 and 17 are allowed to drink at home, a study shows, with researchers warning parents against supervised consumption. The newly released report, based on interviews with almost 3,000 teenagers and their families across Australia in 2016, found 28 per cent of that age group were granted permission to drink at home.

Read the Guardian article Here

2nd September 2021

Drugs trade ‘never waned’, bucking Covid crime trends

The Garda Commissioner has said the illegal drug trade has “never waned” during the pandemic, bucking overall crime trends which show sustained downward or stabilised rates of offending. Drew Harris said he was aware of reports of assaults and anti-social behaviour around Dublin city centre, but said “comprehensive plans” were in place to deal with the continuing easing of restrictions on socialisation. He said “unprovoked attacks” on gardaí continued during the month of July, including one incident in Tallaght, west Dublin, where shots were fired at unarmed gardaí on routine patrol.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

1st September 2021

Lord Mayor of Dublin Launches ‘The VanaLiffey’ – Ana Liffey Drug Project’s mobile harm reduction unit

On 31St August 2021, marking International Overdose Awareness Day, Ana Liffey Drug Project are pleased to announce the operation of a new mobile harm reduction unit – ‘The VanaLiffey’ is a significant service development which works to deliver harm reduction services to people in a flexible and accessible manner, to reduce the risk of overdose and other drug related harms in Dublin and to proactively link people to treatment and support services.  The vehicle was generously donated to Ana Liffey Drug Project by Lifeline Ambulance Service.

Read the Ana Liffey article Here

30th August 2021

Cocaine nation: ‘The cliche of the rich man’s drug is long gone. It is everywhere now’.

Powder cocaine occupies a peculiar space in drug culture. Unlike its more sinister cousin crack (cocaine in a smokable rock form), powder cocaine has, to some extent, maintained a shroud of mystique and glamour. A symbol of wealth and excess. White lines on silver platters. The young professional’s drug. 

Read the Irish Times article Here

27th August 2021

Over 900 children were treated in hospital for drug and alcohol-related illnesses in 2020

Over 900 children were treated in hospital for drug and alcohol-related illnesses last year. According to Freedom of Information figures released to Newstalk, nearly two-thirds were girls. The new figures show the number of children who were treated in hospital for drug and alcohol-related illnesses in 2020. The conditions include drug or alcohol poisoning, a mental health disorder due to substance misuse, and new-born children affected by their mothers’ use of drugs or alcohol.

Read the Newstalk article Here

26th August 2021

Exceptional affordability continues to sustain Ireland’s harmful use of alcohol

Alcohol Action Ireland (AAI), the independent advocate for reducing alcohol harm, has today (17th August) published its annual Off-Trade (excl. licensed premises) alcohol price survey. The findings confirm the exceptional affordability of alcohol to every day shoppers and reaffirms the necessity for the commencement of minimum pricing of alcohol products (Jan 2022) that will ensure the strongest, cheapest alcohol is eliminated from the market.

Read the Alcohol Action Ireland article Here

19th August 2021

Exceptional affordability continues to sustain Ireland’s harmful use of alcohol

Alcohol Action Ireland (AAI), the independent advocate for reducing alcohol harm, has today (17th August) published its annual Off-Trade (excl. licensed premises) alcohol price survey. The findings confirm the exceptional affordability of alcohol to every day shoppers and reaffirms the necessity for the commencement of minimum pricing of alcohol products (Jan 2022) that will ensure the strongest, cheapest alcohol is eliminated from the market.

Read the Alcohol Action article Here

11th August 2021

Women face many obstacles in getting drug and alcohol treatment in Ireland

Drug and alcohol treatment services need to be trauma informed and gender transformative so they can respond to women’s needs, write Dr Gillian Paul and Dr Jo-Hanna Ivers

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

6th August 2021

A new treatment for alcohol abuse

UC San Francisco researchers have leveraged two new molecules, one of which is currently in clinical oncology trials, to devise a dual-drug therapy for alcohol use disorder (AUD), without the side effects or complications associated with current treatment regimens. The approach had highly successful results in mice and may be applicable to other drugs that are often abused. 

Read the University of California article Here

3rd August 2021

Keith Treacy on the alcohol addiction that ended his career at 26 and wanting to help others avoid his mistakes

In an exclusive interview with Sky Sports, former Premier League player and Republic of Ireland international Keith Treacy reveals how alcohol addiction curtailed his career and why he hopes others will heed the lessons that he learned too late…

Read the Sky Sports article Here

29th July 2021

Online consultation on the Global alcohol action plan, first draft

The harmful use of alcohol causes approximately 3 million deaths every year and the overall burden of disease and injuries attributable to alcohol consumption remains unacceptably high. The pace of development and implementation of alcohol policies has been uneven in WHO regions, and resources and capacities for implementation of the WHO Global strategy to reduce the harmful use of alcohol 10 years after its endorsement do not correspond to the magnitude of the problems. On this basis, the WHO Executive Board in its decision called for accelerated action to reduce the harmful use of alcohol. 

Read the WHO press release Here

26th July 2021

 ‘People are passing all the time. It’s disgusting, for me, for them’.

The development of a facility where intravenous drugs could be consumed under medical supervision would “get injecting out of the public eye” and lessen the risk of people dying from overdoses, Dublin drug users say. Some of those who spoke to The Irish Times said they felt “horrible” about having to inject on the streets and that doing so is “dangerous” for the wider public. An estimated 400 people per month are injecting heroin on Dublin streets, according to the Ana Liffey drug treatment centre.

Read the Irish Times article Here

19th July 2021

Court decision halting Dublin injecting centre ‘a real setback’ for Cork

The chairwoman of the Cork Local Drugs and Alcohol Task Force (CLDATF) has said public drug injecting “has not gone away” despite a court ruling halting long-awaited plans for a safer injecting facility in Dublin. Colette Kelleher said it was a “real setback” for Cork too as the local task force campaigned for a similar facility in the city. Her comments follow the decision of the High Court on Thursday to overturn a decision by An Bord Pleanála granting planning permission for the country’s first medically supervised injecting centre in the premises of Merchants Quay Ireland (MQI) in Dublin city.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

15th July 2021

Thousands of our citizens abandoned to a life captured by alcohol

Alcohol Action Ireland, the national independent advocate for reducing alcohol harm, today (Tuesday, 13 July) notes the publication of the Health Research Board’s Bulletin Reporting of the 2014 – 2020 Alcohol Treatment Data.

Read the Alcohol Action media publication Here

13th July 2021

Gambling watchdog to be ‘powerful’, says Minister

Public health and wellbeing will be the primary focus of the “extremely powerful” gambling regulator who will be appointed by the end of the year, according to Minister of State for Justice James Browne. Eight years after a Bill to regulate gambling was introduced but never passed the Minister insisted he would introduce comprehensive legislation in September to reform regulation of the industry and said the regulator would be in place by the end of this year.

Read the Irish Times article Here

8th July 2021

WHO faces criticism over suggesting women of childbearing age should be advised against drinking

The World Health Organisation has been criticised for suggesting that women of childbearing age should be advised against drinking. The WHO’s draft Global Alcohol Action Plan 2022-2030 calls on countries to pay “appropriate attention to prevention” of alcohol consumption in particular groups, including children, teenagers and women of childbearing age. 

Read The article Here

5th July 2021

Legalising drugs: ‘Drug use should be treated as normal adult behaviour’

This week more than 100 Irish youth workers and former youth workers have aligned as Youth Workers Against Prohibition Ireland and signed an open letter criticising drug prohibition and arguing for the legal regulation of all drugs in Ireland. This goes further than the decriminalisation of drug use that has been called for by many campaigners and further than the Cannabis Regulation and Control Bill being put forward by People Before Profit TD Gino Kenny later this year.

Read the Irish Times article Here

27th June 2021

Dr Garrett McGovern: Legislation is now four years old but Ireland is still without its first drug injecting centre

About three years ago I was parking my car in town on the way to do a clinic near Christchurch in Dublin 8. As the car reversed into its spot, I saw the top of the heads of three people in the rear-view mirror. I got out to see what was happening and saw that two of the people were injecting a syringe into the groin of the third.

Read the article Here

14th June 2021

Charity concerned over number of crack cocaine users

Charities working with drug users have expressed concern around the number of people presenting with crack cocaine dependency. An organisation in Tallaght, Dublin said it is now the number one issue they are dealing with. Crack is a form of cocaine that is smoked and it comes in lumps known as “rocks” which sell for around €15 each.

Read the article Here

8th June 2021

Court rules that section of anti drug trafficking law is unconstitutional

A section of anti-drug trafficking legislation has been found by the High Court to be unconstitutional. Mr Justice Michael Twomey agreed with submissions made on behalf of Sean McManus, currently serving a sentence for drug dealing that Section 27 (3F) of the 1977 Misuse of Drugs Act was unconstitutional.

Read The Breaking News article Here

4th June 2021

Tobacco firm frustrated over delay in menthol ban investigation

British American Tobacco (BAT), which trades in Ireland as PJ Carroll, has accused the State’s tobacco regulator of “inaction” for failing to rein in its commercial rivals over allegations that some of them are selling new products that it claims may be in breach of last year’s ban on menthol-flavoured cigarettes.

Read the Irish Times article Here

3rd June 2021

Quarter of drivers admit they may have been over the limit when driving the morning after

New attitudinal research (1) released today by the Road Safety Authority (RSA) has found that a quarter of drivers surveyed agreed that there were times when they may have been over the drink driving limit when driving the morning after a night out.

Read the article Here

1st June 2021

Almost 40% favour legalising cannabis for recreational use, over 90% in favour of medicinal use

Almost 40% of Irish people believe cannabis should be legalised for recreational use and there is an overwhelming support for the medical use of cannabis. New polling by Red C on behalf of The Journal shines a light on the nation’s views on legalising cannabis, with only 4% of people opposed to the medical use of cannabis. At present, the use of four cannabis-based products is allowed in Ireland in strict circumstances and under a pilot scheme.

Read The article Here

31st May 2021

Benzodiazepines are ‘little ticking time bombs’ on the streets of Cork

The extremely dangerous benzodiazepines have become ‘a very big Cork thing’ “Little ticking time bombs” are being passed around on the streets or outside pharmacies every day, unseen or not noticed by much of the population. But these little white pills are quietly hooking teenagers and adults alike and contributing to multiple deaths and violent attacks every year. Blackouts, violence and “a feeling that you’re invincible, that you don’t care” caused by the prescribable tranquilliser drugs benzodiazepines have caused them to be christened colloquially as ‘charge sheets’.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

13th May 2021

Drug crime in Republic last year surged to levels not seen since the Celtic Tiger

Ireland’s drugs trade is experiencing a boom, with new figures showing that recorded drug crime last year surged to levels not seen since the Celtic Tiger era. Figures obtained by The Irish Times show a total of 23,285 drug crimes were recorded last year, an increase of 9 per cent to a level only previously seen in 2008.

Read the Irish Times article Here

10th May 2021

The burning issue: Should cannabis be legalised?

Earlier this week, the Irish College of Psychiatrists issued a stark warning that “cannabis represents the gravest threat to the mental health of young people today”. The college further noted that there were suggestions that the drug was considered “harmless” and that the number of hospital admissions of young people with a cannabis-related diagnosis increased by 300% between 2005 and 2017.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

27th April 2021

Success in seizing proceeds of crime to be reflected in new Community Safety Innovation Fund

Minister for Justice Helen McEntee has today announced that she and Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Michael McGrath have agreed, in principle, to establish a new fund to support community safety. The Ministers said the new Community Safety Fund will reflect the significant successes of An Garda Síochána and the Criminal Assets Bureau in disrupting criminal activity and seizing proceeds of crime by providing additional funding for investment in community safety projects. The new Community Safety Fund will be included in the Justice Vote as part of the Estimates Process for 2022.

Read the Department of Justice press release Here

19th April 2021

‘Don’t start asking me for Benzos’: homeless people detail interactions with medics

Homeless patients have said they feel either excluded or discouraged from attending health services and medics have described difficult interactions with some homeless clients, including being lied to over prescription drugs or fearing violence if they refuse to provide certain medication. The findings are included in a comprehensive new study led by Dr Austin O’Carroll of SafetyNet Primary Care, who is also the clinical lead on the Covid response when it comes to those experiencing homelessness.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

15th April 2021

Health Research Board. New HRB overview presents latest research on alcohol consumption, harm and policy in Ireland

The HRB has found that while alcohol consumption levels in Ireland have plateaued since 2013, people’s consumption remains significantly higher than the Government’s 2020 target of no more than 9.1 litres of pure alcohol per person a year. In 2019, on average every person in Ireland aged 15 and over drank 10.8 litres of pure alcohol a year – the equivalent of either 40 bottles of vodka, 113 bottles of wine or 436 pints of beer. Given one in four people in Ireland don’t drink at all, actual consumption rates among those who do drink would be much higher than this.

Read the report Here

12th April 2021

Women, alcohol and COVID-19

Excessive alcohol use is a common response to coping with stress. Alcohol use increased following the September 11th terrorists attacks and Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The COVID-19 pandemic is following this same path. However, this pandemic is different in its scope and duration. COVID-19 is associated with both negative health and economic impacts, as well as grief, loss, and prolonged stress and uncertainty.

Read the Harvard Health Publishing article Here

9th April 2021

Editorial: the moral complexities of drug policy

Drug policy is a complex sphere to navigate for a whole host of reasons. The most important and difficult being that drug use is perceived to be a moral issue. It is obvious that policies based on morals rather than science are inherently problematic as biases and emotional reasoning cloud our ability to think rationally. We can argue all day that a moralistic approach to drug policy is wrong, but that on its own will achieve nothing. In order to see positive progress, we need to understand why we can’t agree and how we can change this.

Read the Volteface article Here

8th April 2021

GAA praised for their ‘socially responsible approach’ towards gambling

The GAA are keen to see “in-play” betting prohibited in matches, according to a new report on gambling in Ireland. The study, funded by Gambling Awareness Trust, revealed the GAA had planned for an awareness campaign on an All-Ireland senior semi-final weekend, which was postponed due to the pandemic. Three years ago, the organisation voted to implement an explicit ban on gambling sponsorship and advertising at all levels of the sport throughout the island of Ireland.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

5th April 2021

 Establishment of a High Level Taskforce to consider the mental health and addiction challenges of persons interacting with the criminal justice system

The Minister for Justice Helen McEntee T.D.,  Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly T.D.,  Minister of State with Responsibility for Mental Health and Older people Mary Butler T.D. and Minister of State for Public Health, Wellbeing and National Drugs Strategy, Frank Feighan T.D., have announced the establishment of a new High Level Taskforce to consider the mental health and addiction challenges of people interacting with the criminal justice system, following approval by Cabinet earlier this week.

Read the Dept. of Justice statement Here

1st April 2021

35% of Cork prison population seeking drug treatment in jail

More than a third of inmates at Cork Prison are either getting methadone treatment for opioid addiction or are on a waiting list for treatment. There are 48 inmates of Cork Prison on a waiting list for methadone treatment for opioid addiction, while a further 47 are being treated for it. That is according to the most recent figures available from the Department of Justice, for March 1, when there were 267 inmates in the prison.

Read the article Here

22nd March 2021

Bottling up problems: More young women presenting with alcohol-related liver disease

More younger women are presenting with alcohol-related liver disease as a leading specialist warns that problem drinking among women is on the rise. In the past 12 months, Dr Anthony O’Connor, a consultant gastroenterologist at Tallaght Hospital, said he has seen four women in their early 40s die of alcohol-related liver disease (ALD). In the same period, just one young man died of the disease. “I’ve been a doctor for 17 years now. When I first started, the patients you saw dying of liver failure were men in their 60s. 

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

9th March 2021

‘We’ve reached a point of no return – it’s an epidemic’: problem gambling fears raised as bookie revenues soar. 

Giving evidence to a British House of Lords select committee in February 2020 on efforts to reduce problem gambling, the then-CEO of the company which owns brands such as Coral and Ladbrokes had a telling statement.   “We do affordability checks [on VIP or high-value customers],” Kenny Alexander said. “We ask for their payslips and—as much as we can—sources of their wealth, et cetera, to verify that they have the money to spend.

Read The article Here

5th March 2021

Injectable medication shows promise for Anchorage’s homeless alcoholics

Lucy Tall and Roger Williams spent years living on the streets of Anchorage, camping out in parks and bathing in creeks. Last year, both Tall and Williams were suffering from health problems related to alcoholism and coronavirus was spreading. “We realized we were getting too old for camping out in wintertime,” Williams said. The couple packed up their tent, gathered their belongings and moved into Ben Boeke Ice Arena. The city had converted the sports venue into a mass shelter to provide more space to help mitigate the virus spread.  

Read the Alaska article Here

1st March 2021

Criticism of Minister Donnelly’s deferral of minimum pricing by Alcohol Action Ireland

Minimum unit pricing for alcohol products is a crucial measure within the Public Health Alcohol Act, enacted over two year ago, which ensures that alcohol products, sold in the off-trade, cannot be sold beneath a certain price. This proven price measure to reduce alcohol use is robustly supported by the WHO, and evidence from other states demonstrate its capacity to reduce acute alcohol episodes, overall consumption and lessen alcohol harms.

Read Alcohol Action Ireland article Here

26th February 2021

Minister Feighan welcomes the approval of the EU Drugs Strategy 2021-2025

Frank Feighan TD, Minister of State for Public Health, Wellbeing and the National Drugs Strategy, today welcomed approval by the European Council of the new EU Drugs Strategy 2021-2025. The strategy sets out the political framework and priorities for EU drug policy in the period 2021-2025. It reaffirms the commitment of EU Member States to an evidence-based, comprehensive and balanced approach to drugs, with the preservation of human rights at its core.

Read the statement Here

24th February 2021

Mental health of homeless people hit hard during Covid-19 pandemic

The mental health of homeless people has been impacted by social isolation linked to measures aimed at controlling the spread of Covid-19, with one leading charity organisation saying more mental health outreach is needed. A new study by Merchants Quay Ireland looked at the lived experiences of 10 people known to homeless services.  Only three participants were securely housed and all reported a severe mental health illness. 

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

23rd February 2021

‘Grave error’ in Government’s new medicinal cannabis scheme

 spokesperson for the Department of Health said a prospective supplier of cannabis-based products can apply to the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA), on behalf of the minister, to have a product considered for inclusion in the Medicinal Cannabis Access Programme. But the Dutch authorities do not allow the commercial export of cannabis-based oils to wholesalers or pharmacies, they said.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

22nd February 2021

Cocaine trade ‘rocketing’ warns top EU drug official after Cork seizure

Cocaine trafficking from South America into Europe is “rocketing” and the money spent on it by Irish users is “going straight into the hands” of cartels. That is according former Assistant Garda Commissioner Michael O’Sullivan, now a top EU drug official, who was speaking on the back of the seizure of 172kg of cocaine in Cork harbour on Thursday.

Read Irish Examiner article Here

16th February 2021

FG Seanad leader backs call for minimum unit pricing on alcohol

Fine Gael Seanad leader Regina Doherty has supported a call for the Government to introduce alcohol minimum-unit pricing instead of waiting until Northern Ireland does so because that could take years. She said “we talk about doing things when the time is ideal” but because of the delays in the North “perhaps we should not wait. We should lead by example as we have done very successfully with other public health measures.”

Read the Irish Times article Here

12th February 2021

EU presidency: Portugal focuses on Europe’s recovery and chairs activities in the field of drugs

This month, Portugal took over the rotating presidency of the council of the EUwith the motto ‘Time to deliver: a fair, green and digital recovery’. Over the next six months, Portugal will lead work at all levels of the Council, building co-operation, agreement and solidarity between EU Member States.

Read the EMCDDA article Here

9th February 2021

EU plans to ban vaping in public places as part of drive to slash tobacco use by 2040

The headline of this article is deeply troubling as it suggests that vaping is part of the problem and not part of the solution. This is surprising given the numbers worldwide who are using e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation tool. We need to embrace vaping and not create unnecessary barriers to a life without smoking.

Read the article Here

28th January 2021

Methadone recipients say they feel their lives are put on hold

This is a very important research which says a lot about the perceptions of people who are prescribed opioid substitution treatment. Although he inference is drugs such as methadone is a negative experience it is actually the delivery of that treatment that is often holding patients back. Sometimes daily trips to the clinic or pharmacy or issues around the way many people feel they are treated when they attend their clinic.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

26th January 2021

The Big Read: Blame it on the bottle – how Covid is changing our drinking culture

Dr McGovern was interviewed as part of this article by journalist, John Meagher, about people’s drinking behaviours during COVID-19 and how it has changed. Alcohol has had a bad press during the coronavirus pandemic. Tony Holohan, the chief medical officer, put it bluntly this month: “The virus loves alcohol, and we have a challenge with alcohol in this country.”

Read the article Here

25th January 2021

‘Cocaine crisis’ as more are turning to drugs to deal with job losses and mental health issues, experts say.

Ireland is facing a ‘cocaine crisis’ after the Covid-19 pandemic as health researchers and criminologists predict more people are turning to drugs to cope with unemployment and mental health issues. Rehab centres have seen a surge in people seeking help for cocaine addiction during lockdown as concerns grow about the impact on local communities. James Leonard, a youth support officer with the Cork Education and Training Board, told the Irish Independent that cocaine use among young people is a ‘major issue’ at the moment.

Read the article Here

11th January 2021

Alcohol Action Ireland welcomes ending of promotions that incentivise alcohol use

The introduction of these regulations is part of a process to de-normalise alcohol as an ordinary grocery product; last November saw the legal commencement of separation of alcohol products in specified licensed premises. The application of these regulations will ensure that the awarding of loyalty card points or similar type points on the purchase of alcohol products will now be prohibited. 

Read the Alcohol Action Ireland article Here

7th January 2021

Opinion: Irish laws on drugs need to grow up

Just before Christmas, drug policy in this state grew up a little. An Garda Síochána announced that it was changing its approach to people found to be in possession of cannabis for personal use. As of December 14, this offence will attract an adult caution, which in lay person’s terms is a warning. The officer at the scene retains the discretion to act in this manner as opposed to issuing a charge, but the emphasis has definitely shifted to avoiding prosecution for a first offence.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

6th January 2021

Psychiatrists call for urgent action on gambling

Aengus Cox reports on a warning from The College of Psychiatrists of Ireland of what it says is a concerning rise in gambling disorder referrals since the introduction of Covid ‘lockdowns’

Listen to The Morning Ireland RTE piece Here


4th January 2021

Gambling regulator set to be in place by summer

The long-delayed gambling regulator could be in place by the summer, with plans in train to limit spending, require age verification, and introduce measures to curb advertising. James Browne, minister of state at the Department of Justice with responsibility for law reform, told the Irish Examiner that the Government wants the regulator in place by summer, with legislation to follow.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

15th December 2020

Can universities reduce harms associated with students’ drug use? 

Student healthcare and student counselling services are seeing increasing numbers of students who are experiencing negative consequences associated with drug use. There is an increasing prevalence of college students who report occasional or frequent drug use, and a greater range of drug use, including marijuana, cocaine, ecstasy, ketamine and ‘synthetic drugs’ often bought online.

Read the article Here

11th December 2020

The amount of drugs coming into jails is ‘extremely concerning’, according to some prison chaplains

The amount of drugs coming into jails is ‘extremely concerning’, according to some prison chaplains. One report says it’s a ‘tragedy’ that some inmates arriving into jail clean can leave as addicts. The 2019 annual reports from prison chaplains have been released under Freedom of Information legislation.

Read the Newstalk story Here

8th December 2020

Should drug bust money be used to help our people suffering from addiction recover?

The Claire Byrne show discussed the issue of the proceeds of drug hauls being used to help people in recovery. This is a contentious issue and one that stimulates debate.

Watch the Claire Byrne Live show Here

1st December 2020

 Addiction services see major increase in demand

Addiction services have seen a surge in the number of people contacting them with problems related to alcohol and drugs. One service, Coolmine Therapeutic Community, saw an 80% increase in calls after the first set of Covid-19 restrictions. It is expecting another surge after Christmas and once the latest restrictions are eased.

Read the RTE News article Here

23rd November 2020

Cannabis reform in Ireland with Natalie O’Regan & CCAN

In light of launching ECAN this week, we have been speaking to advocates in Ireland to gain insight on cannabis reform across the channel. It’s always exciting to hear about progressive reform around the world. As we are all too aware, there are still many nations where cannabis remains illegal, both recreationally and medically. From speaking with CCAN and Natalie O’Regan it’s clear that grassroots advocacy is still at the core of cannabis reform in Ireland. 

Read the article Here

16th November 2020

Minister Frank Feighan announces funding of €480,000 to support the restoration of drug and alcohol services during COVID-19

The Minister of State with responsibility for Public Health, Wellbeing and the National Drugs Strategy, Frank Feighan TD, today announced the provision of €480,000 in once-off funding to support the restoration of drug and alcohol services during COVID-19. The €480,000 will be made available to the network of 24 Drug and Alcohol Task Forces for distribution to community and voluntary drug and alcohol services in their areas. Each task force will receive up to €20,000 in once-off funding to meet COVID-19 related costs.

Read the article Here


10th November 2020

Women advised to moderate alcohol consumption over breast cancer fears

Women have been asked to moderate how much alcohol they drink as the more consumed, the higher the risk of breast cancer. The call comes in response to a new report from the National Cancer Registry Ireland finding that one-third of all cancers in Ireland could be prevented by lifestyle changes.

Read the article Here

9th November 2020

Ireland ‘far behind the curve’ on gambling laws as warning sounded on ‘insidious’ loot boxes in video games

The regulation of loot boxes in video games and whether or not they constitute gambling is something that will be reviewed by Ireland’s gambling authority – despite there being no definitive timeline for when this regulator will be established. There are no immediate plans to regulate the in-game purchase of loot boxes here, even as some other countries across Europe step up action on the issue.

Read the article Here

4th November 2020

Oregon becomes first US state to decriminalise hard drugs

Oregan has become the first US state to decriminalise hard drugs, including the possession of small amounts of heroin and cocaine, and to legalise access to so-called magic mushrooms for therapeutic use. Four other states — New Jersey, Montana, South Dakota and Arizona — voted to legalise recreational marijuana, which remains illegal at the federal level.

Read the article Here

3rd November 2020

Women advised to moderate alcohol consumption over breast cancer fears

Women have been asked to moderate how much alcohol they drink as the more consumed, the higher the risk of breast cancer. The call comes in response to a new report from the National Cancer Registry Ireland finding that one-third of all cancers in Ireland could be prevented by lifestyle changes.

Read the article Here

23rd October 2020

Learning Points: Teens’ alcohol attitudes are deadly serious

Last week I wrote about the need for mental health promotion to be designed and delivered in a way that has a positive impact on people’s lives.  I suggested that many of the efforts to promote mental health in schools only pay lip service to the issue and need to be revamped as a matter of urgency. The Government recently allocated €32 million into health services, which is a huge boost but we need an integrated strategic plan so that those services are in a better position to deliver top quality consultation to those who need it. 

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

20th October 2020

Surge in alcohol-related calls to HSE helpline

There has been a surge over the last three months in alcohol-related calls to a HSE support line, with an almost 40% increase since June. Contacts to the HSE Drugs and Alcohol Helpline show that alcohol is the main drug causing problems for women aged over 20 and for men aged over 30. Figures released to the Irish Examiner also show a large increase in calls relating to cocaine and tablet use, including anti-anxiety pills, in the July-September period.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

9th October 2020

Placing restrictions now on alcohol sales is a prudent act

Alcohol Action Ireland, the national independent advocate for reducing alcohol harm, notes the commentary emanating from government sources that restrictions are being considered on the sale of alcohol in the Off-Trade retail landscape. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Alcohol Action has consistently highlighted, to government, the difficulties arising throughout society because of the exceptional level of cheap alcohol pouring into people’s homes. 

Read the Alcohol Action article Here

2nd October 2020

We need to talk about Ireland’s problem with alcohol

Ireland, we have a problem. We raise our young people in a culture of excessive alcohol use and cry havoc when they follow in our footsteps. We use alcohol as a social lubricant, a bonding tool, a facilitator of celebration and commiseration.

Read the article Here

29th September 2020

Ireland three times above European average for drug related deaths

Drug-induced deaths in Ireland are three times greater than the European average, according to a new report. The newly published study by the European Union’s drugs agency has revealed that Ireland has the third-highest death rate for drug-induced deaths after the United Kingdom and Sweden.

Rad the article Here

24th September 2020

Health Research Board compares the Irish drug situation with the rest of Europe

The European drug report 2020: trends and developments report provides a snapshot of the latest drug trends across the 27 EU member states, Norway and Turkey.  The Health Research Board (HRB) provides the Irish data and research for the EMCDDA report. This media brief is designed to highlight key points from the European report and, where the data are available, provide a comparison with the situation in Ireland. 

Read the HRB report Here

21st September 2020

Surprise expressed at low number of Covid-19 cases among people who use drugs

Doctors working in opioid substitution clinics (OST) have been expressed surprise by the low number of Covid-19 cases among people who use drugs. According to the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC), which collects data on “homeless/those with addictions” there have been four outbreaks comprising15 cases among this cohort. HPSC does not collect data on the number of individual Covid-19 cases in this patient group outside of outbreaks.

Read the Medical Independent article Here

18th September 2020

Introduction of gambling regulator is delayed again

The creation of a regulatory body for Ireland’s €8bn-plus gambling sector won’t happen until at least next year, according to Justice Minister Helen McEntee. Early last year, the Cabinet approved a plan to establish a regulator for the industry, while also publishing the  Gaming and Lotteries (Amendment) Bill that provided for long-awaited modernisation of existing legislation for the sector that dates back to 1931 and 1956.

Read the article Here

17th September 2020

The Government is gambling with public health when it comes to ICU capacity

Tempting though it might be to add here to the condemnations concerning Boris Johnson’s perfidious Internal Market Bill, I will repose my hope (if not my trust) in the House of Lords to prevent Britannia Waives the Rules from becoming the finale sung at next year’s BBC Proms. We have more immediate problems on hand this week: higher than expected Covid infection rates, widening chasms in the public finances, and growing unease among the public about the effectiveness of NPHET and the HSE’s capacity to take practical steps to prevent a second wave of the virus swamping the hospital system.

Read the Irish Times article Here

9th September 2020

No amount of alcohol at any stage of pregnancy is safe for your baby, HSE experts advise

The HSE Health and Wellbeing, Alcohol programme is hosting a webinar for health professionals about international Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) Awareness Day, (today 9th September). The webinar’s purpose is to share and raise awareness about the latest evidence and practice in relation to preventing and responding to FASD. FASD and Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) occur when alcohol passes from mother to baby during pregnancy, causing damage to the developing brain and neurodevelopment.

Read the HSE.IE article Here

4th September 2020

Numbers seeking treatment for cocaine abuse likely to increase in the coming years

Countries like Ireland that have seen a sharp rise in treatment for cocaine use in recent years should prepare for further increases, a new study has warned. The research said Ireland was one of three European countries, out of ten states studied, that has experienced the largest increases in cocaine treatment in recent years. The report said the typical time lag between the onset of a substance use disorder and accessing treatment was around a decade. It said that given studies have shown an increase in cocaine use generally in society, including in Ireland, numbers seeking treatment would probably grow.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

27th August 2020

We should be alarmed at high level of addiction deaths

According to the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, approximately three in every 10 adults in Ireland report to having used illicit drugs during their lifetime. Most people use drugs recreationally but for others their drug use becomes a substance dependency issue.

Read the article Here

18th August 2020

Campaigners are calling for the legalisation of drugs as a matter of public health

The Help not Harm campaign is calling for drugs like cannabis to be legalised and regulated to allow people to consume them in a safe manner. On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, Graham De Barra, director of the campaign said, “decriminalisation is a form of public health.”

Listen to the interview Here

10th August 2020

Almost one-third of 17/18-year-olds ‘risky drinkers’, study finds

Nearly a third of 17- and 18-year-olds would be classed as risky or hazardous drinkers, according to the latest report from the major Growing Up in Ireland study. Some 49 per cent of the 17/18-year-olds surveyed had tried smoking cigarettes, but only 8 per cent said they smoked daily. The study is based on interviews with a cohort of more than 6,000 young people, repeated at various different stages of their youth.

Read the Irish Times article Here

5th August 2020

Twins study finds no evidence that marijuana lowers IQ in teens

In the first study of its kind, scientists have analyzed long-term marijuana use in teens, comparing IQ changes in twin siblings who either used or abstained from marijuana for 10 years. After taking environmental factors into account, the scientists found no measurable link between marijuana use and lower IQ.

Read the article Here

29th July 2020

Alcohol abuse still on rise in Ireland – along with cannabis and cocaine

Many people now seeking help for alcohol addiction are drinking more in a day that they should be in a week under recommended weekly alcohol limits, the Health Research Board has warned. Seven-in-ten people do not come for help until their addiction is already “severe which makes treatment more complex and recovery more difficult”, said Dr Suzi Lyons, senior HRB researcher.

Read the Irish Times article Here

24th July 2020

Drinking in denial: a cross-sectional analysis of national survey data in Ireland to measure drinkers’ awareness of their alcohol use

Ireland has high per capita alcohol consumption and also has high levels of problematic drinking patterns. While it is accepted that patterns of alcohol consumption in Ireland are a cause for concern, it is not clear if Irish people are actually aware of the extent of their hazardous or harmful pattern of drinking. The aim of this study was to determine awareness of drinking pattern in an Irish population using a representative random sample and to identify characteristics associated with self-awareness of hazardous or harmful drinking.

Read the BMJ Open study Here

16th July 2020

HRB reports increase in psychiatric in-patient admissions under 18 years old

The latest figures from the Health Research Board (HRB) show an increase in the number of under 18-year-olds admitted to psychiatric units and hospitals in Ireland, rising from 408 admissions in 2018 to 497 in 2019. Depression remains the most common diagnosis among children, followed by neuroses, eating disorders and schizophrenia.

Read the HRB Report Here

14th July 2020

‘At night I would go to my room to quietly drink.’ Irish women and addiction

Lolly Strahan has come to a realisation. The founder of the Lolly & Cooks chain of cafes, bakery and commercial caterers knows now that in life, you really can have it all. Just not all at the same time. Her business may have been in hibernation over the past few months, but the 46-year-old single mother to nine-year-old Jazmin says she is in the best form of her life. 

Read the Irish Times article Here

10th July 2020

Treatment for cocaine trebles in just six years

Treatment for cocaine has trebled in the last six years, with “worrying” increases in crack cocaine cases. While those seeking treatment for cocaine are generally in paid employment and most likely to use alcohol as an additional drug, those mixing crack cocaine and heroin are more likely to be unemployed and homeless.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

9th July 2020

Use of Crack Cocaine in Ireland has increased

Sarah McInerney was joined by Professor Colin O’Gara, Consultant Addiction Psychiatrist at St John of God Hospital and Dr McGovern to discuss the rise in cocaine use in Ireland in recent years following figures produced by the Health Research Board.

Listen to Today with Sarah McInerney interview Here

7th July 2020

Health Minister Donnelly stands by open minded attitude toward cannabis

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly stands by a previous interview in which he said he would be open to legalising cannabis. The Fianna Fail minister spoke to Hot Press magazine back in 2017, in which he admitted to trying marijuana and hinted at trying other substances. After being appointed as the new Minister for Health by Taoiseach Micheal Martin, a spokesperson for the Department of Health revealed that Donnelly stands by this interview.

Read the article Here

3rd July 2020

‘A subsection of clients feel lockdown has made it easier to avoid drug use’

The pandemic has had a devastating impact globally. But according to Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist Dr Bobby Smyth, addition services have not been badly affected by the crisis. The immediate need to reduce the spread of Covid-19 among the population prompted addiction services to take individuals on waiting lists for opioid substitution services into treatment without delay. Dr Smyth told the Medical Independent waiting lists for opioid addiction services are now much lower than before the pandemic and in some areas “non-existent”. 

Read the Medical Independent article Here

2nd July 2020

Hundreds of litres of alcohol seized in Irish prisons last year

Nearly 400 litres of home-made alcohol was seized in Irish prisons last year. Mountjoy Prison in Dublin was the worst offender. According to freedom of information figures, 395.5 litres of homemade alcohol – or hooch – were seized in Ireland’s 12 prisons in 2019. It includes seizures made across the jails’ estates and other sources, such as security nets and visitors. More than a third of the alcohol was recovered from Mountjoy Prison, at 149 litres. Castlerea Prison in Co Roscommon is the next worst, at 72 litres.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

30th June 2020

Lowering alcohol excise duty would be counter to public health policy

Every euro gathered in alcohol excise duty in Ireland is met with three euro of public expenditure to manage the impact of alcohol harm. The data from the Global Burden of Diseases (2016) highlights that over 2,700 people die every year from alcohol related harm and incident. The idea that the new government, caught in the middle of a major public health crisis that is already demanding an additional €2 billion health expenditure, would chose to further fuel an ongoing public health problem, seems to be patently inappropriate. 

Read the Alcohol Action article Here


29th June 2020

‘Low-risk’ moderate drinking can be harmful – study

It isn’t just heavy drinking that can be a problem, even consuming moderate amounts of alcohol in low-risk settings can result in hospitalisation and death, a new study has found. Canadian research found a significant portion hof alcohol-caused death and disability was done by people drinking within local “low-risk drinking guidelines”, and moderate drinkers “are not insulated from harm”.

Read the article Here

26th June 2020

 AAI believes the Programme for Government offers real potential to reduce alcohol harm

Alcohol Action Ireland, the national independent advocate for reducing alcohol harm, has today (Friday 19th) welcomed the commitments to reducing alcohol harms, outlined in ‘Programme for Government – Our Shared Future’ negotiated by Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Green Party. The Programme outlines a firm assurance to implement, in full, the Public Health Alcohol Act (PHAA) and ‘honour our longstanding commitment to introducing minimum unit pricing’.

Read the Alcohol Action Ireland article Here

19th June 2020

Alcohol Action Ireland urge men to rethink what they drink

Alcohol Action Ireland, the national independent advocate for reducing alcohol harm, today (Friday 19th) are the lead partner on Men’s Health Week 2020 and are urging all men, young and old, to take the opportunity to rethink their drinking and get the balance right.

Read the Alcohol Action article Here

18th June 2020

Alcohol in Ireland: Dying for a drink

Alcohol is synonymous with Irish culture; this is compounded by the fact that there’s an Irish pub in every corner of the globe, our number-one tourist attraction is a brewery, and Irish history is rich with characters infamous for their love of a drink, from Shane McGowan to Oscar Wilde. What is sobering, however, are the implications of our actions. Alcohol is the cause of a major public health emergency in Ireland. Here we present a background to the alcohol crisis and offer guidance on care of alcohol-related morbidity in the Irish healthcare system, with reference to recent European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL) guidelines on the subject.

Read the Medical Independent article Here

15th June 2020

Two-thirds of men turn to alcohol to combat loneliness and boredom during Covid-19 pandemic

Two-thirds of men have reported turning to alcohol to combat loneliness and boredom during the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a survey carried out by charity Drinkaware.
The Behaviour & Attitudes survey of 1,015 adults in Ireland shows 66% of men report using alcohol as a coping mechanism, compared to 55% of women and the 60% national average.

Read the article Here

9th June 2020

Growing concern about the volumes of alcohol being brought into Irish homes

Since the outset of the COVID-19 lockdown in mid-March, we have been monitoring all available public trade data , mainly from Nielsen and Kantar; two significant trends emerging are both noteworthy and worrying. Firstly, over the Easter period (5-19 April) we know there was a 44% increase in off-trade sales when compared with the previous Easter of 2019. In the 10 week period of the lockdown, trade data indicates a 40% rise in off-trade alcohol sales.

Read the Alcohol Action article Here

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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 Video Debate: Supervised injecting rooms



Dr McGovern and Adrian Cummins, CEO of the Irish Restaurants Association were invited to participate on the 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 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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