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

8th November 2019

Almost half of inmates at Dublin women’s prison receiving methadone treatment

Nearly half of the inmates at the State’s dedicated women’s prison are receiving methadone as a treatment for their opioid addiction.
Figures show 46.3% at the Dochas Centre on the Mountjoy campus in Dublin, used the drug as part of a treatment programme at the end of last month. It is the largest proportion of prisoners undergoing opioid substitution treatment at any detention facility in the State and is three times higher than the average of 15% in all other jails combined.

Read the Dublin Live article Here

6th November 2019

Ban on alcohol ads near schools and playgrounds

Drinks firms will be hit with hefty fines from next week if they attempt to “lure” young people into alcohol addiction by advertising their products near schools, playgrounds or on public transport. Health Minister Simon Harris warned the industry will face potential €5,000 fines and six-month prison sentences under new rules — despite an alcohol awareness group warning the changes will fail unless wider issues around subliminal messages are also addressed.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

31st October 2019

Addiction support to be peer-run

Organisers of support meetings in which people who have recovered from addictions help others do the same could graduate to a position where professional trainers are no longer needed. The Smart (Self Management And Recovery Training) service in Cork is already marking its first year in operation, with new regular meetings getting under way in Fermoy and Bandon, adding to the two meetings that have been taking place in Cork City and one other that has been running in Tralee, Co Kerry.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

23rd October 2019

Licencing system for sales of tobacco proposed; plans to ban e-cigs for under 18s

Shops will be forced to pay for licences to sell tobacco and e-cigarette products and will be named and shamed and face potential fines if they fail to do so under new government plans. Health Minister Simon Harris will bring the potential new rules to Cabinet this morning, alongside linked plans to ban the sale of e-cigarettes to under-18s and to block their sale at vending machines at any event attended by children.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

22nd October  2019

Govt allocates €200k for new health diversion system for people caught with illegal drugs

An allocation of €200,000 has been provided for the phased implementation of the new State health diversion system for possession of illegal drugs.
Last August, the Government announced a landmark change in the legal approach to those caught in possession of drugs for personal use.
Under the system, people who are caught, for the first time, by gardaí in possession of drugs for personal use will be referred to a health intervention.

Read the Irish Examiner 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

15th October 2019

When ecstasy was dealt openly on the Dublin rave scene

A page in The Irish Times on April 20th, 1994, didn’t exactly paint the nicest picture of the Irish music scene. One news story was about three young Dublin men who were acquitted of involvement in an incident at a Guns N’ Roses concert in Slane three years previously, during which another young man was robbed and a car was damaged.

Read the Irish Times article Here

14th October 2019

Bill banning sale of e-cigarettes to under-18s goes to Cabinet

The sale of e-cigarettes to children is to be banned under legislation Minister for Health Simon Harris will bring to Cabinet later this month.
The Public Health (Tobacco Products and Nicotine Inhaling Products) Bill will prohibit the sale of “vapes” – tobacco- and nicotine-inhaling products – to persons under the age of 18.

Read the Irish Times article Here

10th October 2019

Children of people who abuse alcohol 3 times more likely to consider suicide

Children whose parents misuse alcohol are three times more likely to consider suicide or develop an eating disorder, according to Alcohol Action Ireland. Alcohol Action Ireland says that 200,000 children are growing up in homes where there is parental alcohol misuse.
The group has teamed up with Mental Health Ireland to tackle the harmful effects of alcohol on our mental wellbeing.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

7th October 2019

As vaping-linked injuries and deaths rise in the US, some Irish colleges are moving towards an all-out ban

Trinity College Dublin’s tobacco policy group is assessing the benefits and risks of vaping and allowing it on campus in light of recent studies on the side effects of the smoking alternative. In the US, 18 deaths and 1,080 injuries – a jump of 275 since last week – have now been positively linked to vaping, according to that country’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Although the causes of these outbreaks are not yet established it appears that they have largely occurred in people who are vaping THC oil with the addition of Vitamin E acetate and through illegally procured vaping equipment. If this is true it is puzzling why a campus ban would be seen users and other people’s best interests.

Read The article Here


26th September 2019

Pressure grows for law to tackle sales of cheap alcohol

The Government is set to come under increased pressure to introduce minimum unit pricing (MUP) for alcohol products here, following a new study today showing the measure in Scotland has been successful in reducing the amount of drink purchased. The effects were greatest in households that bought the most alcohol, suggesting the policy “has achieved its ambition to make relatively cheap and strong alcohol less affordable, which in turn should positively impact public health over time”, say the researchers.

Read the Irish Independent article Here

19th September 2019

Irish doctors urged to stop over-prescribing benzodiazepines and similar drugs

has warned that doctors who are caught over-prescribing benzodiazepines, z-drugs and Pregabalin will face disciplinary action. The council is seeking to take action on the issue at national level, as it believes that the over-prescription of the drugs is negatively affecting the safety of patients.

Read The article Here

12th September 2019

Drug testing kits give false sense of security says head of HSE’s Addiction Services

The head of the HSE’s Addiction Services has warned that drug testing kits give a false sense of security.
Dr Eamon Keenan said that such kits do not give an indication of the purity or strength of the drug being tested and could lead to someone taking a tablet which could lead to an adverse reaction.
He was responding to reports that free drug testing kits are being handed out on campus at University College Cork this week.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

10th September 2019

7,600 people receive opioid-substitution treatment in first six months of 2019

More than 7,600 people received opioid-substitution treatment in the first six months of this year. In the vast majority of cases, this is used to treat heroin addiction.In Ireland, the main treatment for opioid addiction involves methadone and the drug buprenorphine.
According to details released under the Freedom of Information Act, 7,645 people received opioid-substitution prescriptions from a community pharmacy in the first six months of this year.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

5th September 2019

Glasgow eye of storm as drug deaths spiral in Scotland

Gary Kelly and Bruce Munro, reforming drug users from Glasgow, count themselves lucky. They have survived the kind of lethal addictions to substances that have left Scotland with the highest drug-related death rate in the European Union, according to official Scottish statistics.
And both are now in a rehabilitation programme at a residential clinic paid for by local authorities that they hope will turn around, and even save, their lives.

Read The Mail & Guardian article Here

2nd September 2019

Drug users and their families offered training on dangers of a overdose

Opiate users and their families are being offered training on the dangers of an overdose – and how to stop one. Drugs charity Merchant’s Quay is highlighting how life-saving medicine Naloxone can be applied by first-aiders. There were 736 drug-related deaths in 2016 compared with 431 in 2004. Tom Sheppard from Merchant’s Quay said many overdose deaths can be prevented.

Read The Irish Examiner article Here

21st August 2019

Drug offenders screening model will cost €780,000

The annual cost of public health-led model for first-time drug offenders estimated at €780,000. The health-led screening model for first-time drug offenders is being lined up to go ahead in summer next year on a phased basis. The estimated cost exceeds three-quarters of a million euro for a full year. Under the new public health-led policy, a person in possession of drugs, determined by An Garda Síochána to be for personal use, on the first occasion is to be referred by the Gardaí on a mandatory basis to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for a health screening and brief intervention.

Read the Irish Medical Times article Here

19th August 2019

HSE addiction expert: Festivals that don’t provide drug information and support should be refused a licence

Music festivals could be refused a licence to run their events if they don’t provide harm reduction advice to guests under measures set to be discussed at a working group next month. last week revealed that discussions have already begun with labs capable of carrying out drug-testing in a number of locations across Ireland, in a bid to reduce the health risks associated with taking drugs at the events. 

Read the article Here

14th August 2019

Talks underway between HSE and labs that could carry out drug-testing at festivals

THE HSE HAS begun discussions with organisations that could provide drug-testing at festivals ahead of a working group, tasked with tackling the issue, beginning next month. In 2017, the government announced that, as part of the national drug strategy, a working group involving health professionals, festival organisers and advocacy groups would be established to examine harm-reduction measures among drug-users at festivals.

Read the article Here

8th August 2019

Opinion: The government’s new drug policy will do nothing to end the stigmatisation of drug users

Last Friday the government launched its policy on Ireland’s approach to the possession of small amounts of drugs for personal use, following the report of the working group set up to examine the issue. In essence, the new policy adopts a staged approach to dealing with possession.

Read The article Here

6th August 2019

Leo Varadkar: Josepha Madigan ‘didn’t lobby against the methadone clinic

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has defended two Government ministers who told voters no new methadone clinics would be built in their areas, despite widespread anger over the claims. Mr Varadkar’s comments came after Transport Minister Shane Ross followed Culture Minister Josepha Madigan in facing criticism for telling voters about the lack of new drugs units in his constituency.

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

23rd July 2019

Rising economy sees increase in cocaine use

Cocaine is the third most-used illegal drug in Ireland after opiates and cannabis. 17% of all people treated for drug addiction had a problem with cocaine. Those addicted to opiates remained the largest group at 45%, while one in four were treated for dependence on cannabis. The Health Research Board’s latest statistics cover 2017, and also reveal four out of five cocaine addicts were male. The organisation’s senior researcher Dr Suzi Lyons says cocaine use has risen and fallen along with the country’s economic fortunes. 

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

17th July 2019

Open letter to Taoiseach July 2019

The Working Group on Alternative Approaches to criminalisation for possession of drugs for personal use have completed their report and a memo based on the recommendations of this report will shortly be brought to the Government. We are concerned at the indications that, while it will recommend a system for diversion to health services, which is very welcome, it will also recommend maintaining the criminal status of possession of drugs for personal use.

Read the Citywide letter to Taoiseach 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

11th July 2019

‘War on drugs’ may harm the world’s poorest – report

A new report has warned that the so-called “war on drugs” is counterproductive and may harm the world’s poorest and most marginalised groups. The report, published by Christian Aid, says ill-conceived approaches of criminalisation and enforced eradication of illicit croplands destroy livelihoods and exacerbate human rights violations of already stigmatised and marginalised groups.

Read the article Here

4th July 2019

Gardaí refuse to provide policing plan needed for injecting centre until planning permission is granted

The Gardaí have said that they cannot provide a policing plan for a proposed medically supervised injecting centre in Dublin until planning permission for the centre is granted. This is despite Dublin City Council requesting that a policing plan be submitted as part of the planning application. The refusal by gardaí could halt the opening of the centre, which has already been significantly delayed.

Read The article Here

1st July 2019

Alcohol minimum pricing rules to be fast-tracked by Cabinet

The Government is set to fast-track new laws to clamp down on cheap alcohol sales in off-licences and supermarkets, with the Cabinet expected to approve plans within the next two weeks. The Sunday Independent also reports that controversial minimum unit pricing rules for wine, beer, and spirits will come into effect within 12 months, meaning this is the last summer consumers will be able to avail of bargain-basement alcohol.

Read The Irish Times article Here

25th June 2019

Drug treatment court: A failed experiment imported from the US?

When the Dublin Drug Treatment Court was established in 2001, it was hailed as having the perfect balance – a programme that would match the government’s tough-on-crime rhetoric while simultaneously focusing on rehabilitating offenders. “By introducing a drugs court programme, we will use the justice system in an imaginative way to rehabilitate addicts charged with non-violent offences and reduce the prison revolving door for drug addicts,” Bertie Ahern had said in Fianna Fáil’s 1997 election manifesto before his party entered government for more than a decade.

Read the Irish Times article Here

24th June 2019

‘These drugs are much more potent’: HSE advises festival-goers who plan on taking drugs

A senior HSE doctor has warned of the harmful effects associated with taking drugs at festivals as the HSE launches a campaign offering advice for drug-users. The campaign was launched this week in conjunction with a number of Irish festival promoters, including Body and Soul, which kicks off this weekend.

Read the article Here

21st June 2019

Drug harm-reduction campaign for music festivals

The HSE is to roll out a drug harm-reduction campaign for fans at music events — starting with the Body & Soul festival this weekend.
Its National Social Inclusion Office will have a team on site at the Westmeath festival to talk about drug trends and harm-reduction practices with attendees, and it says festival medics have been trained on emerging drug trends and substances in advance of the event.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

20th June 2019

Public Health chief says alcohol laws should limit licenced premises

The Director of Public Health for the south of Ireland has said future alcohol laws should look to restrict the number of new licenced premises in problem drinking areas. Dr Augustine Pereira suggested the initiative at the launch of his report “A focus on Alcohol & Health in Cork and Kerry” at Cork County Hall yesterday/this morning. Dr Pereira said he was hopeful that the introduction of the Public Health (Alcohol) Act last year would, in time, “denormalise” alcohol consumption similar to the impact the smoking ban has had on cigarette use.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

19th June 2019

Post-rehab in Cork facility opens after 12 years

A three-storey bed-and-breakfast that was idle for 12 years after it was bought by a charity as a step-down facility for people with addiction is to officially open today. This follows an allocation of operational funding by the HSE. The Teach Mhuire site, on Western Road in Cork City, was refurbished 12 years ago ago by the addiction treatment charity Cuan Mhuire as a step-down facility for men exiting rehab. However, they were unable to obtain the €300,000 in annual funding required to run it.

Read The Irish Examiner 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

17th June 2019

‘I do think there is an issue’ – former Ireland coach concerned with Irish players’ binge drinking

Former Ireland coach Eddie O’Sullivan has suggested Irish rugby has an issue with binge drinking among its professional players. Details of excessive drinking by former Ireland and Ulster pair Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding emerged at their high profile rape court case in Belfast last year, a controversy that has now had a sequel as brewing giant Diageo has pulled the plug on the near 30-year sponsorship by Guinness of London Irish, the club that last month signed Jackson from Perpignan in France.

Read The Rugby Pass article Here

14th June 2019

State must regulate drug education, group insists

‘Pseudo-religious’ groups are able to hand out leaflets on drugs and industry-affiliated bodies are free to give talks about alcohol in the current unregulated system, warn drug workers. The State needs to consider regulating drug education and prevention, according to people working in the sector. The National Drug Education and Prevention Forum heard that education programmes in schools are “inconsistent” and that some schools are still using “shock” tactics.

Read The Irish Examiner article Here

13th June 2019

Stronger cannabis ‘causing more problems’ for adolescents

The increasing strength of cannabis is causing a major problem for young people in Ireland, according to the Dublin North Regional Drugs Task Force.
A new report shows a steady increase in young adults using MDMA and cannabis since 2011. It also found that cocaine users in Ireland are not aware of how the strength of the drug is rapidly increasing.

Read the Irish Examiner 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

10th June 2019

Parents pay price for drug debts of children, says judge

A judge has warned that drug users are putting their families in danger due to the drug debts they build up, as he sentenced a man to a month in prison for possession of cocaine. Judge James McNulty said families, and in particular parents, often paid a real price because of debts built up by their children, often facing the threat of violence if that money was not repaid. He made his comments in the case of Jack McCarthy, aged 24, of Creagh Beg in Lisavaird near Clonakilty, Co Cork.

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

5th June 2019

Criminalising cannabis users increases harm

Sir, – A letter signed by 20 doctors attempts to address a wide range of controversial issues, among them adolescent cannabis use, medicinal cannabis and legalisation and/or decriminalisation of cannabis for so-called recreational use (Letters, May 20th). It is estimated that 90 per cent of people who use cannabis do not seem to develop any major problems with it (other than the fact that the drug they usually use it with (ie tobacco) is likely to cause them far greater harm and significantly contribute to their cause of death. As health advocates we take the issue of tobacco, alcohol and all drug related harm seriously.

Read The Irish Times letter Here

4th June 2019

Ministers considering alternative approaches to dealing with drug possession for personal use

Ministers are to go to Cabinet in the coming weeks with recommendations on alternative approaches to law on the possession of drugs for personal use in Ireland. A working group was set up last year to consider such issues such as the possession of drugs for personal use, and to review other jurisdictions’ drug laws.

Read The article Here

31st May 2019

Public Health chief says alcohol laws should limit licenced premises

The Director of Public Health for the south of Ireland has said future alcohol laws should look to restrict the number of new licenced premises in problem drinking areas. Dr Augustine Pereira suggested the initiative at the launch of his report “A focus on Alcohol & Health in Cork and Kerry” at Cork County Hall yesterday/this morning. Dr Pereira said he was hopeful that the introduction of the Public Health (Alcohol) Act last year would, in time, “denormalise” alcohol consumption similar to the impact the smoking ban has had on cigarette use.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

30th May 2019

FactCheck: Does cannabis legalisation cause ‘exponential’ increases in the use of the drug?

A leading member of a group of doctors warning against a liberalisation of Ireland’s approach to recreational cannabis use has claimed that countries and states that have legalised cannabis have experienced exponentially increasing rates of drug use. He namechecked Portugal, Canada and referred to unnamed US states where the rate of cannabis use was “exponentially” increasing. But is it true? Has legalisation of cannabis led to increased usage?

Read The article 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

14th May 2019

Amsterdam: A visit to an Amsterdam injecting centre

Plans for a drug injection centre in Dublin are still up in the air as parts of the HSE are opposed to the opening of the centre at Merchants Quay.
Kieran Cuddihy visited a drug injection centre in Amsterdam to see how they operate and to see what affect the centre has had on the neighbourhood that it’s built in.

Listen to Newstalk interview Here


30th April 2019

Tony Slattery thanks fans after opening up about substance abuse, mental health

Comedian and actor Tony Slattery has thanked fans for their support after giving a revealing interview about struggling with substance abuse and bipolar disorder. The 59-year-old was once well known for programmes such as Whose Line Is It Anyway?, Just A Minute and Have I Got News For You – but has disappeared from the spotlight in recent years. He said on Twitter that he had amassed 2,000 new followers after the article in The Guardian, and also apologised to fans who thought he had died.

Read The article Here


26th April 2019

Can Doctors Talk Teenagers Out of Risky Drinking?

I’m a pediatrician, and when I see adolescents in my clinic, I ask them if they are drinking alcohol (among other risky activities). Then I counsel them if they answer in the affirmative. I want young people to be safe. But doctors lack the evidence base — we don’t have enough studies — to know how much of a difference this makes.

Read the New York Times article Here

24th April 2019

‘You can’t arrest your way out of record drug-related deaths,’ say police

In what is effectively de facto drug decriminalisation, people caught in possession of personal amounts of controlled substances in a number of police areas are being directed towards treatment and education services through “diversion schemes”, rather than facing prosecution. The radical policies, often spearheaded by elected police and crime commissioners (PCCs), come amid a growing realisation that reoffending and drug-related harm can be reduced by adopting a public health approach and inviting people to address their own substance use.

Read The Guardian article Here

23rd April 2019

The Explainer: Why haven’t any supervised drug injection centres opened in Ireland?

Back in 2015 the then-government announced that the first supervised drug injection centre in the country would open within two years. The centres – known as medically supervised injecting facilities (MSIFs) – provide drug addicts with a safer, sterile environment in which to inject heroin, cocaine or other drugs under the supervision of a medical professional.

Rad The article Here

18th April 2019

Problem drug use on the rise in Ireland

Problem cocaine use is on the rise, with the number of cases of cocaine addiction jumping by 32% between 2016 and 2017. The new figures from the Health Research Board (HRB) show that, while cocaine is the third most common problem drug reported to the National Drug Treatment Reporting System, its use has risen year after year.

Read The Irish Examiner article Here

17th April 2019

Lynn Ruane: The overdose drug Naloxone can save lives so let’s remove the barriers to accessing it

In 2003, I was hired to develop an initiative for teenagers who were using heroin. One particular week we were learning about how to respond to an overdose. The young people had witnessed a number of overdoses but the methods they were using to respond were scary. Given their exposure to overdose, it was an essential part of my job to help them learn better ways to keep themselves and their friends safe.

Read The article Here

16th April 2019

‘I’m no expert in the cultivation of cannabis’: Taoiseach supports idea of Irish farmers growing cannabis in the future

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said he has no objection to the prospect of Irish farmers diversifying and growing cannabis in the future.

In a wide-ranging interview with, where Varadkar discussed John Delaney, Brexit, Peter Casey and the European elections, the Taoiseach said in light of Brexit, supports for the exposed beef sector are needed, in order to reorientate them towards new markets and new businesses.

Read The article Here

15th April 2019

Tippling point: When parents drink too much at home

Communion season is almost here and it will see many families celebrate with alcohol. However, parents need to be aware that drinking too much in front of their children can have long-term consequences, writes Áilín Quinlan. When we think of Communion season, we think of happy little girls in frilly white dresses and boys in their Sunday best – we don’t associate this religious celebration with sozzled parents.

Read The Irish Examiner article Here

12th April 2019

Pregabalin/Lyrica reclassified to a class C drug

A prescription drug linked to 33 deaths in 2017 in Northern Ireland will now be treated as a class C drug. Pregabalin – also known by the brand name Lyrica, or the street name bud – is an anti-epileptic drug also used to relieve chronic pain. Northern Ireland has the highest prescription rate for pregabalin in the UK. It is illegal to have class C drugs without a prescription and illegal to supply or sell them to others.

Read the BBC article Here


9th April 2019

‘Momentous achievement’: Campaigners welcome confirmation of government medicinal cannabis supplier

Advocates for medicinal cannabis in Ireland have welcomed the news that the Irish government has identified a supplier for the treatment.
The Department of Health confirmed to that a licence for the importation of “specified cannabis containing products” has been issued.

Read The article Here

8th April 2019

Plea for reform of addiction services as deaths increase

Addiction NI has urged government departments to work together to update policies and help to reduce the stigma attached to addiction. The charity is hosting a conference in Belfast today, bringing together addiction experts, health professionals, judges – including Fiona Bagnall who presides over a pioneering court aimed at helping drug users – and people affected by drug and alcohol abuse, as it marks its 40th anniversary of helping people here.

Read The Belfast Telegraph article Here

4th April 2019

Marian Keyes, Damien Dempsey among host of Irish personalities joining the call to decriminalise people who use drugs

Marian Keyes, Damien Dempsey, Emmet Kirwan, James Kavanagh, Philly McMahon and many others have joined the #SaferFromHarm campaign to decriminalise people who use drugs. In a new campaign video Marian Keyes recognises that “how we currently treat drug users does not work and needs to change”, while Damien Dempsey believes that “we need to treat drug use as a health issue, not a criminal issue.”

Read The Ana Liffey press release Here

2nd April 2019

Drinking alcohol during teenage years linked with stunted brain growth

Drinking during adolescence and early adulthood can slow down brain development, according to researchers who studied alcohol’s effects on monkeys. The brain undergoes crucial developments as we transition from adolescence to adulthood, right as many people start drinking for the first time.

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

26th March 2019

Press Release Tuesday 26th March 2019 Ministers for Health welcome the decision to host Global Alcohol Policy Conference in Dublin

Minister for Health, Simon Harris TD, and the Minister of State for Health Promotion and the National Drugs Strategy, Catherine Byrne TD, today welcomed the news that Ireland has been selected as the location for the next Global Alcohol Policy Conference in 2020.
The Conference is held every two years and this 6th conference has a theme of Alcohol Equity and Global Health: the benefit of alcohol control for sustainable development for all.

Rad The Dept. of Health Press Release 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

19th March 2019

Bookies give €1m to new body to tackle gambling addiction

A new body to help tackle gambling addiction and problems caused by gaming is to receive €1m a year from the Irish Bookmakers Association.
The Gambling Awareness Trust is a newly registered charity which aims to fund research into gambling problems, information campaigns and help finance agencies which provide counselling and other services.

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

14th March 2019

Alcohol Action Ireland disappointed by latest alcohol consumption data for 2018

Alcohol Action Ireland today (Tues, 12 March) note the data released by Revenue: provisional alcohol clearances and receipts 2018. This data disappointingly indicates that alcohol consumption remains stubbornly high at 11 litres per capita.

Rad The Alcohol Action article Here

13th March 2019

Expert warns against liberal drug laws; Softer legislation would ‘more than likely’ increase health problems

A child psychiatrist and drug addiction expert has warned the State against decriminalising the possession of cannabis, or any drugs, for personal use. Dr Bobby Smyth, who works with teenagers who have problem drug-use, spoke as a high-level State working group is due this month to report to the Government on the issue. Dr Smyth told the Irish Examiner that all the risks associated with liberalising drug laws “were on the downside”.

Rad the Irish Examiner article Here

12th March 2019

Irish teen girls near top of global binge drinking table

Irish adolescent girls have one of the highest levels of binge drinking in the world, according to a new global study. The first study to track recent global changes in adolescent health, published in The Lancet, found that the number of adolescents worldwide who are overweight or obese more than doubled between 1990 and 2016. 

Read The Irish Examiner article Here

11th March 2019

‘Don’t bring booze, we’ll seize it’ – gardai warn against drinking in public places over St Patrick’s weekend

There will be zero tolerance of drinking in public places this St Patrick’s weekend as all alcohol will be confiscated, An Garda Siochana has warned.
As half a million punters are expected to descend on the streets of Dublin for the annual St Patrick’s Day Parade at noon on Sunday, gardai are stressing that people should not bring bags of booze with them into the city.

Read The Here

8th March 2019

The Irish Times view on deaths from prescription drugs: Cause for alarm

Figures from the National Drug Related Deaths Index, showing that more than two people died each day in the Republic in 2016 as a result of drug use, are of concern. A total of 736 people died in 2016 compared to 431 in 2004 – an increase of 71 per cent – according to the data from the Health Research Board.

Read the Irish Times article Here


7th March 2019

Decision to include vaping advice on official HSE website ‘does not represent policy change’

The HSE says its decision to include a section on vaping on its official website does not represent a change in government policy, but followed a reevaluation of information provided on the site in recent months. Vaping advice hadn’t been mentioned on the site until last month.

Read The article Here

5th March 2019

Ministers publish first set of data on gambling in Ireland

The Minister of State for Health Promotion and the National Drug Strategy, Catherine Byrne TD and The Minister of State for Equality, Immigration and Integration, David Stanton TD , have today published the first set of data on the extent of gambling in Ireland. The data is published in Bulletin 7 of the 2014/15 Drug Prevalence Survey and is based on fieldwork carried out between August 2014 and August 2015.

Read The Department of Health article Here

4th March 2019

Government resisted lobbying on betting duty but won’t use the funds for problem gambling services

Despite resisting lobbying from gambling firms when it came to raising tax on betting, the government will not be reinvesting money from the extra €50 million raised into problem gambling services.

Read The article Here

26th February 2019

People using street tablets ‘don’t know what they are getting’

People using ‘street tablets’ are the focus of a new harm reduction campaign in Dublin’s north inner city. Chief executive of the Ana Liffey Drug Project, Tony Duffin, said the use of drugs sold on the streets has been a problem for some years. “When you see an empty tablet blister packet blowing around on the street, someone has not taken the last one and thrown it away – they’ve taken all of them,” said Tony Duffin.

Read The Irish Examiner article Here

25th February 2019

Drug use should be dealt with by health system – survey

Nine in 10 Irish adults are in favour of intervention from health professionals when it comes to a loved one’s drug use but not intervention from gardaí or the courts system, according to new survey. The poll, carried out by Red C on behalf of the Ana Liffey Drug Project, interviewed a representative sample of more than 1,000 adults – aged 18 and over – last month in relation to attitudes to interventions.

Read The Irish Times 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

7th February 2019

Codeine overdoses down 33% since 2010 painkiller restrictions

Overdoses caused by strong over-the-counter painkillers dropped by a third following the introduction of restrictions on their sale a decade ago.
In 2010, restrictions were put on the sale of painkillers containing codeine, suamid fears about the dangers of overdose and addiction.

Read The Irish Times 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)

17th January 2019

Initiative to study affect of parental alcohol misuse on children

A new initiative is being launched today aimed at highlighting the impact parental alcohol misuse has on children. The project called “Silent Voices” will look at promoting an understanding of the issue as well as providing supports for those affected.

Read The Irish Examiner article Here

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 January 2019

Half of GPs say they’re ineffective in treating problem drinkers

A survey by the Irish College of General Practitioners found that while two-thirds of family doctors feel prepared to counsel patients about their drinking, many question the effectiveness of their intervention.
At the same time, the vast majority are positive about their ability to help reduce a patient’s consumption level if they are given adequate information and training.

Read The Irish Examiner article Here

22nd December 2018

Surge in cocaine supply in Europe as gangs ‘uberise’ the trade through social media

A surge in the supply of high-purity cocaine to Europe has meant an increase in violence and drug-related homicides, as the use of new technologies ”uberise” the cocaine trade, according to a new report. The EU Drugs agency report indicates that Ireland has one of the highest prevalence of cocaine use in Europe, along with Denmark, the Netherlands, Spain and the UK. 

Read The article Here

6th December 2018

Further delay for Dublin’s injection centre as concerns raised on ‘over-concentration’ of services in area

Plans for a supervised injecting centre in Dublin city centre now face a further delay after the council made a request for additional information before it could agree to grant permission for the development. Dublin City Council wants Merchants Quay Ireland (MQI) to address the potential for an “over-concentration of such services” in the area which could “potentially undermine the sustainability of the neighbourhood”.

Read The article Here

29th November 2018

Pros and cons of cannabis use scrutinised

From young people stoned “all day long” to life-changing health benefits — the pros and cons of cannabis are scrutinised in a probing TG4 documentary due to air tomorrow night.
As part of the ongoing Tabú series looking at issues affecting Irish society, 22-year-old NUIG student Dáire Ní Chanáin is on a mission to find a way of dealing with her anxiety and depression that is not pharma-led.

Read The Irish Examiner article Here

15th November 2018

Alcohol ads with pro-drinking comments on Facebook ‘boost desire to drink’

Alcohol ads on social media sites can increase young adults’ desire to drink if the ads contain pro-drinking comments from users. According to new research in the current issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, social media users who view alcohol ads are also more likely to “Like” or “Share” an ad when it has pro-drinking comments, the new study shows.

Read The article 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

6th November 2018

What can Irish cities learn from the response to drug use in New Orleans?

New Orleans is a party town with lots of things for tourists and locals to do.
In central parts of both Dublin and New Orleans people overindulge in substances and this can create behaviours that become a policing problem.
Like in Dublin, the most commonly used drugs are alcohol, cannabis, heroin and crack cocaine.

Read The article Here

30th October 2018

Gambling advertising in sport: How much is too much?

Next week’s Championship clash between Stoke City and Middlesbrough is one “for the betting men”. A cash-out clasico that illustrates perfectly how the gambling industry has been allowed to position itself front and centre in modern sport. Come 5.30pm on Saturday, Stoke will take to the pitch at the Bet365 Stadium wearing jerseys with Bet365 logos on the front.

Read The Irish Times article Here

18th October 2018

Irish Alcohol Bill ‘ground-breaking’

The Irish Public Health (Alcohol) Bill, signed into law today (Wed 17 Oct) by Ireland’s President, Michael D Higgins, presents a set of measures to prevent alcohol related harm, which follow latest evidence base in the field of alcohol policy and recommendations of the World Health Organization.

Read the Alcohol Ireland article Here

11th October 2018

Increase in services must accompany relaxed drug laws, group argues

A massive investment in services for drug-users must accompany the decriminalisation of drugs for personal use, a coalition of local drug groups says. The Citywide Drugs Crisis Campaign said the legal change should not be considered by the Government in isolation to all the other issues in those communities most affected by the drugs trade.

Read The Irish Examiner article Here

8th October 2018

45,000 severe pathological gamblers in Ireland, warns addiction expert

A national survey to determine the level of problem gambling and gambling addiction is urgently needed, say mental health professionals and representatives from Gambling Aware. A freedom of information request to the Health Research Board (HRB), shows 195 cases were assessed and treated for “gambling addiction as a main problem” in 2016, and 208 cases the previous year.

Read The Irish Examiner article Here

1st October 2018

‘I started taking drugs when I was 12. It was just seen as a cool thing to do’

Matthew used an illegal drug for the first time at the age of 12. “It was just seen as a cool thing to do,” he said, recalling how he started smoking cannabis. By 13, he was taking ecstasy. Growing up, he says his mother smoked cannabis and his father was a drug dealer. Through his adult years, he has spent time in and out of prison.

Read the article Here

27th September 2018

‘Heroin in Ireland is an economic massacre – we have to find a new solution’

I know you see drug users every day on our streets. Their faces are different to yours. They are thin. They look in pain. You’re scared. You’re asked for money as you sit in cafés. You put your foot on your handbag under the table. You try to casually pick up your iPhone.

Read The article Here

26th September 2018

Alcohol Bill devoid of key expert group recommendations

The National Substance Misuse Strategy Steering Group reported in February 2012 after three years of study. The recommendations (most, but not all) of the expert group, set up by the Department of Health, formed the basis of the much-troubled Public Health (Alcohol) Bill 2015, which is due back before the Oireachtas tomorrow.

Read The Irish Examiner article Here

19th September 2018

Call for laws regulating home delivery of alcohol

Laws regulating home delivery must be introduced in the forthcoming Public Health Alcohol Bill, the special rapporteur for child protection, Dr Geoffrey Shannon, has warned.
A report due to be published on Tuesday says “distance selling” or “dial a drink” services are believed to be on the rise, with under age buyers receiving delivery not only at home, but also in “parks and on the street”.

Read The Irish Times article Here

18th September 2018

Calls for regulation to prevent alcohol abuse harming children

The government’s child protection advisor says alcohol abuse is one of the biggest challenges facing Irish society. A report being launched today by Geoffrey Shannon will call for more regulation to address how easy it is to buy alcohol. He also says alcohol abuse, for which 21 people are entering treatment every day, is negatively affecting children’s welfare.

Read The Irish Examiner article Here

10th September 2018

‘People tend to start doing cocaine because it’s so much more socially acceptable’

At 12.30am on a warm Saturday night in the middle of summer, there aren’t many people in one of Dublin’s most popular nightclubs. With many students having forsaken Dublin for faraway cities or jobs back home, the bouncers are settling in for a quiet evening. Come back in a few weeks time and the club should be busy again. It’s a typical hotspot for students and young professionals who like to shrug off the stress of their day with dancing and drugs.

Read The article Here

20th August 2018

Alcohol warning labels ‘should show the benefits too’

Warning labels on alcohol products should be balanced with information about the health benefits of moderate drinking, the Portuguese government has told Ireland. In a new submission to the European Commission on the government’s proposed alcohol bill, Portugal said warning solely about the dangers of alcohol misuse had the potential to “distort reality”. It criticised the Irish government for not providing consumers with “full and comprehensive” information about drinking.

Read The article Here

16th August 2018

Special policing need for injection centre, says charity organiser Tony Geoghegan

A “dedicated” policing service must be part of a compensation package to communities and businesses affected by the State’s first injecting centre for heroin users, according to the head of the charity awarded the contract to run the service.

Read The Irish Examiner article Here

13th August 2018

Dr Ciara Kelly: ‘We lose three people a day to alcohol but the truth is, we don’t care’

This week Alcohol Action Ireland published its annual market review and price survey about the cost of drink in this country. Lots of us say Ireland is expensive for booze – people often cite bottles of wine on their holliers in Spain costing four quid as examples of this. But actually wine’s a bit of an anomaly because what’s cheapest here drinkwise is – cider, beer and spirits.

Read The article Here

1st August 2018

HSE prescriptions for antidepressants and anxiety medications up by two thirds since 2009

HSE prescriptions for antidepressant and anxiety medications rose in Ireland by almost two thirds over a 10-year period, according to new statistics. Figures seen by show that between 2009 and 2017, prescriptions for eight antidepressants available from the HSE increased by 64%.

Read The article Here

31st July 2018

Michael D Higgins wants gambling ads banned from sport

President Michael D Higgins has said that he’s concerned about the effect gambling is having on sports people and athletes, and that he’d like to see a ban on gambling ads in sports. Speaking on RTÉ’s Sunday Sport yesterday, Higgins said that he was concerned about some of the cases of gambling among the GAA community and had met people who had suffered because of a gambling addiction.

Read The article Here

26th July 2018

Drink and drug use contributing to anti-social behaviour

Staff on Iarnród Éireann services are experiencing an increase in anti-social behaviour, with figures showing the upward trend in incidents reported on rail services last year has continued into the first half of this year.

Read The article Here

24th July 2018

The Irish Times view on responding to cocaine use

Recent figures from the Health Research Board show the number of people being treated for cocaine addiction is 60 per cent higher than it was three years ago. And the proportion of females reporting cocaine as their main problem drug rose from 14 per cent in 2010 to 23 per cent in 2016.

Read The Irish Times article Here

17th July 2018

Dr Ciara Kelly: “We really need to realise that alcohol is a drug

Last weekend there were calls from gardai and emergency first responders in west Cork for parents to act more responsibly, after it was reported that multiple teenagers were highly intoxicated at an underage disco where the emergency services had to be called repeatedly. A local councillor said he was sure people donating money to the emergency response service, never expected it to be used as a babysitting service for drunk teens, when the first responders tweeted that all the cases they saw on Saturday night, were between the ages of 15 and 17.

Read The Irish Independent article Here

11th July 2018

Doctor who treated unconscious teen warns Irish people are playing ‘Russian roulette’ with drugs

Incident is just one in a growing trend of drug use amongst youths
Dr Jason van der Velde arrived at a scene in Clonakilty, Co Cork on Saturday where a fifteen-year-old boy was unconscious and vomiting following a “drug-fueled” night.
There was no evidence that alcohol had been consumed by the boy and it was eventually discovered that a form of ecstasy had been taken, he said.
This incident is just one in a growing trend of drug use amongst youths which has “the potential to ruin their lives”, according to the Dr van der Velde.

Read The article Here

10th July 2018

Social media sites ‘make addictive medication easier to buy’

Addiction psychiatrist Dr Colin O’Gara believes social media sites have “opened the door” for prescription drug dealers to thrive. Dr O’Gara, who is the clinical lead for addiction services at St John of God Hospital, Dublin, says it’s now easier to purchase illegal narcotics online than ever before. “In previous times it would mainly be young, computer savvy people that would use the internet to purchase drugs,” he said. “We’ve noticed that this is not the case anymore. 

Read The article Here

3rd July 2018

‘Therapists were relieved when the WHO listed gaming addiction as a mental health condition

Therapists all over the globe breathed a sigh of relief when the World Health Organisation (WHO) listed gaming addiction as a mental health condition.
This new classification of Gaming Disorder means that when worried parents drag their pasty-faced and overweight children in for some counselling that therapists don’t have to play around with words any longer.

Read The article Here

28th June 2018

Alcohol Action Ireland welcomes further progress on the Public Health Alcohol Bill

Alcohol Action Ireland today welcomed the progress being made by the Oireachtas on the Bill and noted its completion of the Committee Stage before Dáil Éireann’s Select Committee on Health.  The Bill will now go to Report and Final Stages in Dáil Éireann, probably early in the Autumn session and before Budget 2019. 

Read The Alcohol Action article Here

27th June 2018

Changes to laws will help to tackle drug use

Groups working at the coalface of the drugs problem are to lead calls today and tomorrow, in Dublin and Cork, for the decriminalisation of drug possession.It comes as the Department of Health revealed it had received more than 14,000 submissions in just three weeks in its public consultation in relation to the law around possession of drugs for personal use.The issue is being examined by a State expert group and, due to the level of public response, the department has extended the deadline for submissions from June 30 to July 13. 

Read The Irish Examiner article Here

21st June 2018

Irish medicinal cannabis campaigner to speak before House of Commons

An Irish medicinal cannabis campaigner who secured a licence for the medication for her ill daughter has been invited to the speak in the House of Commons in London today so she can explain the benefits of the alternative medicine in treating conditions such as severe epilepsy. Vera Twomey became friendly with British mother Hannah Deacon when they lived on the same street in Holland during a period where they were both “medical refugees.”

Read The Irish Times 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

6th June 2018

Drug addiction expert says cocaine abuse back at boom-time levels

Cocaine abuse is back at boom-time levels, a leading drug addiction expert has said.
Prof Colin O’Gara, consultant psychiatrist and head of addiction services at Saint John of God Hospital, said the numbers being treated for cocaine addiction were at 2007 levels.
“Back in 2007 we set up a service specifically for cocaine addiction at the hospital [St John of God]. When the economy went into freefall we saw cocaine being swapped for head shop drugs until legislation was tightened up and the prevalence of those drugs receded.

Read The Irish Times 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

29th May 2018

Third of A&E attendances on Saturday nights are alcohol related

Nearly a third of all attendances at Irish hospital emergency departments on Saturday nights are alcohol-related, according to new research. During the remainder of the week, alcohol was a factor in 5.9 per cent of attendances. In the first study of its kind, which included all 29 emergency departments in Ireland, staff examined the notes of every person coming into hospital to identify “alcohol-related presentations”.

Read The Irish Times article Here

28th May 2018

Alcohol does shorten your life

Sir, – I believe that Prof William Reville misses the policy implications of the recent Lancet alcohol article, which demonstrated the harmful effects of alcohol on life expectancy in almost 600,000 subjects in 83 prospective studies, with an analysis of 5.4 million person years (“First drinking ‘protects your heart’. Then it ‘shortens your life’. Who to believe?”, Science, May 17th).

Read Prof. Frank Murray’s letter in the Irish Times Here

24th May 2018

Study proves cannabis leads to psychosis

The title of this article is somewhat misleading. It tends to suggest that cannabis use inevitably causes psychosis. In actual fact the incidence of psychosis in cannabis users is relatively rare and tends to occur in predisposed individuals. The real questions here though are whether criminalising users of cannabis is effective and would regulation make cannabis safer?

Read The Independent article Here

21st May 2018

First drinking ‘protects your heart’. Then it ‘shortens your life’. Who to believe?

A headline in the Guardian newspaper on April 13th exclaimed: “One extra glass of wine a day will shorten your life by 30 minutes’’ – referring to a study by Angela Ward and others published in the Lancet. The story uncritically presents the paper’s conclusions as remarkable new findings. But, on examination, the findings are not very remarkable and are open to criticism.

Read The Irish Times article Here

15th May 2018

No thanks, I don’t drink: Geraldine Walsh wonders why so many people struggle with her decision

I’ve spent the best part of adulthood avoiding a social life that has never suited me. Towards my latter days in college, I circumvented the student bar considering the constant badgering to “just have one” wore very thin, very quickly.
Even at 20, I knew the student bar was not where an introverted, soda drinker would feel comfortable. I’m not a pioneer, a teetotaller, a recovering alcoholic, or no fun as some have told me. I simply don’t enjoy alcohol. I neither like the taste nor the feeling that one glass too many gives me.

Read The Irish Examiner article Here

14th May 2018

Time to tax narcotics as war on drugs will never be won

It was in this month nearly 50 years ago that US president Richard Nixon launched the “war on drugs”. Some wars have lasted longer but not many have continued after such an obvious defeat. Tenacity and stubbornness are prized values in any battle but few generals would continue fighting at such cost.
The war on drugs was lost the moment it started but it continues relentlessly, morphing into a narrative favoured by dystopian novelists.

Read The Irish Times article Here

2nd May 2018

Hot Press joins forces with Ana Liffey Drug Project & London School of Economics for Drug Policy Town Halls

The NIMBY brigade was out in force last fortnight, writes Stuart Clark, as RTÉ’s Prime Time reported on the opposition to Dublin’s first medically supervised injecting facility, which Merchants Quay Ireland plan to have up and running by the autumn in the inner city.

Read The Hot Press article Here

27th April 2018

Negotiations for wider availability of suboxone in ‘advanced stages’

There were 115 people receiving suboxone within the public health system at the end of February, according to figures provided to this newspaper by the HSE. This is a slight increase on the 109 people who were in receipt of suboxone at the end of December.Suboxone is an alternative substitution treatment for opioid drug dependence and the HSE told the Medical Independent (MI) that it is currently available in 15 different clinics in the country and from “five level 2 GPs”.

Read The Medical Independent article 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

6th April 2018

Merchants Quay Ireland asked by HSE to reduce cost of drug injection centre by 32%

The Health Service Executive asked Merchants Quay Ireland to reduce the cost of a new drug injection centre by 32%, according to documents released under the Freedom of Information Act.Negotiations over costs helped to delay the announcement of the location for the country’s first supervised drug injection centre, which was finally made last February. In the end, a total of €2.8m was agreed for setup and running costs over an 18-month period.

Read The article Here

3rd April 2018

Study highlights long-term prescription drug use

One-third of medical card patients receive long-term prescriptions for drugs that can lose their effect and cause problems such as falls, according to the first detailed analysis of benzodiazepine and Z-drug prescribing in Ireland.

Read The Irish Examiner article Here

27th March 2018

Drug prevention service to close despite reports of 14-year olds using heroin

A constant “battle” for funding has led to the closure of a 30-year old award-winning national drug prevention and advisory service, at a time when its founder says that teenagers as young as 14 are using heroin. Founder of the national Aisling Group charity in Navan, Co Meath, Marie Byrne says the closure comes as drug use reaches ‘epidemic proportions’ in Ireland. The internationally acclaimed addiction counsellor says children of 11 years old are now binge drinking while teenagers are using heroin from 14 or even younger.

Read The Irish Examiner article Here

23rd March 2018

Addiction to prescription drugs in Northern Ireland ‘at epidemic levels’

More than 193,000 prescriptions were handed out here for the painkiller tramadol in 2016 – a rate of 529 a day – costing almost £2m. A further 165,759 prescriptions for epilepsy drug gabapentin were written by doctors over the 12-month period, while almost 44,500 prescriptions for Lyrica were given out in 2016, at a cost to the health service of £3.87m.Alex Bunting from Addiction NI said urgent action was needed to address growing prescription drug abuse, which he said was killing people across Northern Ireland.

Read The Belfast Telegraph article Here

21st March 2018

‘Free for all’ – The week cannabis was ‘legal’ in Ireland

Everyone remembers when a legal loophole made ecstasy, magic mushrooms and head shop drugs ‘legal’ for 24 hours in 2015 but another legal ruling made cannabis ‘legal’ for an entire week in 1974.

Read The article 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

13th March 2018

Former state pathologist says not enough is being done to tackle abuse of ‘killer’ Tramadol

The former state pathologist for Northern Ireland has warned that not enough is being done to tackle the abuse of the prescription drug Tramadol – which he has branded a “major killer”. Professor Jack Crane has called for the substance to be re-classified as a a Class A drug, saying it is as dangerous as heroin.

Read The Irish News article Here

27th February 2018

Barriers to shield children from alcohol ‘are too short’

New barriers to shield children from alcohol in shops and supermarkets will have little impact as they will be no taller than a 7-year-old, the National Off-license Association has warned. The controversial Public Health (Alcohol) Bill 2015 which will introduce minimum pricing on drink, mandatory health labelling, as well as restrictions around advertising is due to be debated in the Dáil tomorrow.

Read The Irish Examiner article Here

23rd February 2018

Field hospital needed to treat drunk teenagers

Some teenagers were so drunk arriving at an alcohol-free underage disco in West Cork that they were unconscious and needed medical help to breathe. Three intoxicated children aged between 15 and 17 were taken unconscious by ambulance to CUH and up to a dozen were triaged in a field-hospital set up on the grounds of Bandon Rugby Club to ensure the hospital was not overwhelmed by scale of the incident.

Read The Irish Examiner article Here

22nd February 2018

Icelandic approach to teen substance abuse may be tested in west of Ireland

Iceland’s success in cutting substance abuse among teenagers may be tested in the west of Ireland with a pilot scheme involving 7,000 young people. Imposing guilt on children and penalties on suppliers will not work, as the issue is a societal one, Icelandic director of the Planet Youth project Jon Sigfusson said in Galway. He outlined how his country’s project was so successful that Iceland went from having one of the highest to one of the lowest rates of substance abuse by teenagers over a 20-year period.

Read The Irish Times article Here

20th February 2018

‘We’ve had up to five doses given before someone comes around’: How an anti-overdose drug is saving lives

Jess Sears has saved a lot of lives since she started working in homelessness services.The Depaul clinical nurse manager has injected people suffering from overdose with the drug Naloxone on many occasions. “My first time was when I was working in a drug service in the north inner city where we would often have staff outside the toilets because that could be an area where someone is injecting,” said Sears.

Read The article Here

19th February 2018

Merchants Quay Ireland wins tender for drug injection centre

The Health Service Executive has moved a step closer to opening a supervised drug injecting facility in Dublin, after it confirmed that Merchants Quay Ireland is the preferred bidder to operate the centre on a pilot basis. It is planned to operate the facility for an 18-month period in its pilot phase.

Read the article Here

5th February 2018

Varadkar opposed to further changes to alcohol Bill

The Government will not accept any further amendment to controversial legislation to deal with Ireland’s alcohol crisis when debate starts in the Dáil on Tuesday. The Public Health (Alcohol) Bill took two years to get through the Seanad after intense lobbying on each of its four main provisions – the introduction of minimum unit pricing; structural segregation of alcohol from other products in supermarkets and retail outlets.

Read The Irish Times article 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

30th January 2018

Antidote action plan to tackle drug more deadly than heroin

Fentanyl, an opioid drug thousands of times more dangerous than street heroin which has left more than 70,000 people dead in Canada and the US, is creeping into Ireland, according to one of the country’s leading drugs experts, Dr Chris Luke. The synthetic heroin has made headlines around the world for reaching epidemic proportions in the States and has been named as a factor in a number of celebrity deaths including Prince and Tom Petty.

Read The article Here

26th January 2018

Work of expert group on cannabis still not complete

An expert group is continuing to develop guidance for healthcare professionals on a Cannabis Access Programme, almost a year after the proposed programme was announced by Minister for Health Simon Harris. The group has made “very significant progress” in developing clinical guidelines and is also considering operational aspects for implementation of the access programme. It has met seven times to date.

Read The Medical Independent article Here

19th January 2018

HSE to spend €3 million on new drug addiction centre in Portlaoise

A treatment centre for drug and other addictions is Portlaoise is set to cost nearly €3 million to build in health service spending. The HSE Service Plan for 2018 confirmed the cost of the Community Addiction Services Unit – new facility for counselling and support services at St. Fintan’s Health Campus, Portlaoise.

Read The Leinster Express article Here

16th January 2018

Woman who consumes ‘enormous amount’ of alcohol can’t be forced into rehab, judge says

A High Court judge has said he can make no further orders in the case of an “extraordinarily vulnerable” woman who doctors fear may die due to her “enormous” alcohol consumption. The woman, aged in her forties and with a troubled history, has been diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver and has said she knows “it’s life or death now” but is refusing to enter a rehabilitation programme to address her chronic alcoholism.

Read The article Here

12th January 2018

Casinos, gaming machines and online gambling to be overseen by independent regulator

An independent regulator for the gambling industry is to be established under a proposed new law.Minister of State for Equality, Immigration and Integration, David Stanton briefed Cabinet today and requested approval to draft a new general scheme of the Gambling Control Bill.

Read The article Here

9th January 2018

Only one in 10 Britons know alcohol causes cancer, survey finds

Cancer Research UK says scale of ignorance is worrying as findings also show backing for warning labels on bottles and cans. Only one in 10 people know that alcohol causes cancer, according to findings that also show strong public backing for cans and bottles of drink carrying warnings about the link.

Read The Guardian article Here

8th January 2018

Health Minister defends alcohol bill changes

The Government did not cave in to the powerful drinks lobby in changes to the alcohol health bill, Health Minister Simon Harris says. Mr Harris defended the changes, which exempts small local shops from the more draconian elements of the bill regarding separation of alcohol, saying the alterations are “common sense”. Mr Harris, in an interview with the Irish Examiner, said he is satisfied with the final makeup of the bill.

Read The Examiner article Here

2nd January 2018

‘Heroin ripped through Dublin… And this place we loved was at the heart of the city’s epidemic’

Below is an extract from The Choice by Philly McMahon with Niall Kelly.

One summer the lads decided that they were going to rob a bike – not just any old motorbike this time. A superbike. A huge gang of them went off one day to God knows where and came back a couple of hours later with this absolute beauty of a machine.

Read The article Here

12th December 2017

‘Maybe we should slosh our way through the forty days before Easter too’

Christmas is a lovely time of the year. We catch up with family and friends. For many the pub is the perfect setting – it’s convivial, warm, friendly and welcoming.And that’s all lovely, until a marauding troupe of messers, bedecked in luminous Christmas jumpers, and wielding bunches of mistletoe, settle into your space, disrupting your company and likely spoiling what was shaping up to be a pleasant evening.

Read The article Here

6th December 2017

Smartphone addiction? Irish people check their phones 57 times a day

Nine in ten Irish people now either own or have smartphone access, with the ‘grey’ tech market expected to become a growth segment for mobile retailers. Meanwhile Irish people are likely to check their phones on average of 57 times per day, according to Deloitte’s annual Mobile Consumer Survey.

Read The article 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

23rd November 2017

Minimum pricing would help tackle alcohol abuse issue in Northern Ireland, says chief medical officer

Alcohol abuse in Northern Ireland is costing up to £900m every year, the region’s top doctor has warned. The startling claim from chief medical officer Dr Michael McBride came as he called for the introduction of minimum pricing on booze. He said more than 200,000 people are drinking at either hazardous or harmful levels. Dr McBride was speaking at an event for the Big Lottery Fund’s Impact of Alcohol programme yesterday.

Read The Belfast Telegraph article Here

6th November 2017

Drinks promotions to be restricted under new legislation

Drinks promotions aimed at students and others offering two alcohol products for the price of one are to be restricted under new legislation being prepared by the Government. Minister for Health Simon Harris is to be given the authority to draft regulations to prohibit or curb promotions, which he believes encourage irresponsible drinking behaviour.

Read The Irish Times article Here

1st November 2017

‘Growing evidence’ backs injecting rooms; Facilities reach marginalised users and improve practices

There is “growing” evidence that drug consumption rooms are able to reach marginalised users, improve injecting practices, and reduce the visibility of public drug use, according to the EU drugs agency. The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction said there was an “increasing awareness” of the potential of such State-backed facilities to reduce harms to communities affected.

Read The Irish Examiner article 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

17th October 2017

COMMENT: Alcohol Bill will protect children

For over 650 days, the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill – a progressive piece of legislation designed to significantly and positively alter Ireland’s harmful relationship with alcohol – has languished in the Oireachtas, hindered by the powerful alcohol industry’s lobbyists.

Read The Dublin People article Here

10th October 2017

Scientific evidence and drug policy – a marriage on the rocks

‘Nowhere is the divorce between rhetoric and reality more evident than in the formulation of global drug policies, where too often emotions and ideology rather than evidence have prevailed.’ So said Kofi Annan, when writing in a blog for the Huffington Post’s US site. As an Aussie, I have a strong belief in the value of a ‘fair go’. Indeed it’s almost part of our national psyche down under. Right now, when looking at drug policies around the world, the notions of a fair go, of justice and fairness (or lack thereof), are particularly poignant. 

Read the IDHDP article Here

9th October 2017

AA (and not that AA) criticises TDs for putting alcohol sales before safety

The motoring group has also criticised some of the legislation’s opponents for prioritising the sale of alcohol over the safety of consumers and users. The Road Traffic Bill, introduced by Minister for Transport Shane Ross during the summer, proposes that anyone caught with a blood alcohol level of between 50mg and 80mg per 100ml will receive an automatic driving ban.

Read The Irish Examiner article Here

5th October 2017

Remember the proposed ‘booze curtains’? Smaller shops have won the battle against them

Smaller shops have won their battle to get rid of the proposed ‘booze curtain’ which would have hidden alcohol from customers’ view. In a move that is set to incense public health campaigners, the shops will continue to be allowed to display alcohol – although it must be confined to around two shelves. The climb-down is understood to be among a series of amendments in the controversial Public (Health) Alcohol Bill, the Irish Independent has learned.

Read The article Here

3rd October 2017

Former FG advisers are lobbying on alcohol Bill

Former Fine Gael Oireachtas members and special advisers from the last government are lobbying former colleagues over the controversial legislation to reduce alcohol intake in the State. At least 10 former designated public officials have been involved in lobbying on the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill and on alcohol in general. They include two former Fine Gael senators and four special advisers to ministers during the party’s time in coalition with Labour.

Read The Irish Times article Here

25th September 2017

Decriminalising drugs: could it work in Ireland.

In 1977, just before the heroin epidemic began to take hold in Dublin, the Fine Gael government passed a law which made it a crime to consume opium, possess an opium pipe or even visit a place where opium is being taken. The law was contained in the Misuse of Drugs Act 1977, Ireland’s first modern piece of drugs legislation.

Read The Irish Times article Here

20th September 2017

Government pledge to pass laws amid ‘hamstrung Dáil’ claims

The Government has promised to pass divisive bills on alcohol sale restrictions and judicial reforms before the end of this Dáil term amid ongoing claims parliament has become hamstrung by the minority government stalemate. The commitment was outlined by Cabinet yesterday as part of plans to pass 28 priority bills and fast-track 24 bills currently under examination, 30 undergoing pre-legislative scrutiny and 73 others under review.

Read The Examiner article Here

19th September 2017

‘De-normalisation’ of alcohol purchases targeted by health body

New legislation is aimed at both “de-normalising” the sale of alcohol and reducing impulse buying, which accounts for almost one-third of alcohol purchases, according to the vice-chairman of the association representing public health staff. Adrian O’Sullivan, of the Environmental Health Association said the new Public Health (Alcohol) Bill is a welcome piece of legislation which should be passed in its entirety by the Oireachteas.

Read The Irish Times article Here

15th September 2017

A Doctor Tries to Lower Barriers to Methadone Treatment

For John, a heroin user for seven years, there were a few snags that, for a while, held him back from getting stable on methadone treatment. Staff in two methadone clinics wanted him to give urine samples in front of them – a level of intrusion that he, like others he knows, found uncomfortable and off-putting. “I couldn’t get stable on methadone because of the way the clinics are, the structure of having to urinate in front of people,” he says. “Somebody comes in with you and there are mirrors around the toilets.”

Read the Dublin Inquirer article Here

14th September 2017

No ‘magic drug circle’ but gardaí will use ‘discretion’ outside city injection centres

Supervised injecting centres are on the way to Dublin but local councillors said they are concerned that they will be a nightmare to police, and that they fear users will be able to possess heroin without the prospect of prosecution. Elected representatives, as well as senior gardaí, said there would have to be compromise and discretion when it came to possession of drug laws if the centre is to be successful.

Read The article Here

12th September 2017

Alcohol a factor ‘in 85% of suicides’ of men aged over 40 in Cork

About 85 per cent of men over the age of 40 who took their own lives in Corkin the last nine years had a history of alcohol abuse, a public meeting has heard. Prof Ella Arensman, of the National Suicide Research Foundation, told the meeting that research into suicide in Cork city and county since 2008 found that among men under the age of 40, including adolescents, who took their own lives, some 55 per cent had a history of alcohol.

Read The Irish Times article 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

5th September 2017

‘Don’t dilute drink laws,’ urges Black

Senator Frances Black has warned that new legislation on alcohol must not be diluted by the drinks industry. The musician and addiction awareness campaigner will host a series of meetings nationwide to galvanise support for the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill, amid fears that the powerful Irish drinks industry will be successful in getting some of its proposed measures watered down.

Read The Independent article Here

28th August 2017

Free drug tests dropped in favour of ‘amnesty bins’ for revellers

Free drug testing in nightclubs – so users can check the purity of substances bought from dealers – has been quietly kicked into touch by the Government, the Sunday Independent can confirm. However, as the country gears up for Electric Picnic next weekend, special disposal bins may now be introduced at music festivals and clubs, allowing revellers to dump drugs without being charged by gardai. Dr McGovern provided his opinion and believes amnesty bins could help people who use drugs without fear of prosecution.

Read The article Here

17th August 2017

Leaving Cert: Charity criticises lack of regulation for drink deals

A lack of regulation for drinks deals in nightclubs has been criticised ahead of the release of the Leaving Cert results on Wednesday. Alcohol Action Ireland said social media posts from night clubs and bars this week highlights “the widespread use of such promotional tools”. It said admission charges “typically co-related to a specific number of available drinks; a variety of drinks being available to a certain admission price, or packages of reduced priced drinks being made available to certain groups.”

Read The Irish Times article Here

16th August 2017

Parents ‘should not be blind’ to students’ drinking.

Parents have been told “not to be blind” to their children’s drinking, as thousands of students prepare to celebrate their Leaving Cert results tonight. According to research carried out by Drinkaware, parents are the biggest influence on young people’s decisions around alcohol. “The post-results celebrations do not have to be synonymous with the now expected reports about drunken teenagers spilling out of nightclubs across the country,” Dr Liam Twomey, chief medical officer of Drinkaware, said.

Read The article Here

14th August 2017

Fears that potent drug fentanyl may take hold in Ireland

For several years Irish authorities have been bracing themselves for the arrival of fentanyl, the synthetic heroin-like drug that has claimed many lives in Europe and the US. Until recently Ireland appeared to have avoided the brunt of the danger; by the start of this year, just a handful of fentanyl seizures had ever been made in the country.

Read the Irish Times article Here

2nd August 2017

Revealed: This is how many people have failed roadside drug tests since April

Roadside drug-testing detected only 11 suspects in the first three-and-a-half-months it has been in operation. All but one of the positive tests took place in Dublin. The new procedures for preliminary drug tests were introduced on April 12 and involve gardai conducting tests to analyse a driver’s saliva when they are stopped at a checkpoint.

Read The article Here

28th July 2017

Tranquilliser trap: The pain of pill addiction

In 2015, almost 900,000 prescriptions were written for just two benzodiazepine drugs, with users becoming heavily dependent on them, often with painful results. Medication wasn’t her thing. She hadn’t taken an antibiotic since 1987. But when Tipperary-based mother of two Catherine experienced a “bad menopause” and didn’t sleep for months, her doctor asked in August 2007 if she’d try a bit of Valium. 

Read The Irish Examiner article Here


27th July 2017

More addiction counsellors needed

Sir, – Addiction Counsellors of Ireland are accredited counsellors with knowledge of the dynamics of addiction and with specific expertise and training in the skills and interventions required to work with people in the various stages of the pathway of problem use. It is very disappointing to see no mention by the Minister for Health and the Minister of State for the Drug Strategy of the need for investment and employment of addiction counsellors in the public health system as part of multidisciplinary teams to fulfil a key strategic goal of the strategy, to “minimise the harms caused by the use and misuse of substances and promote rehabilitation and recovery”.

Read The Irish Times letter Here

26th July 2017

Calls for a heroin ‘overdose antidote’ to be made more available to addicts’ families

Calls are being made for a heroin ‘overdose antidote’ to be made more freely available here after a scheme in Northern Ireland may have saved almost 100 lives over the past five years.Naloxone is a medication that rapidly reverses and restores the breathing of a person overdosing from heroin or prescription opioid pain medications.

Read The article Here

25th July 2017

Radio: RTE goes big on decriminalising drugs debate

Should we decriminalise drugs currently prohibited? The Government is proposing this for small amounts and personal use. They’re also examining alternative tactics to reduce intake: from a criminal to a medical approach. The story was widely covered, as is right – it’s a big deal. Radio 1 alone saw it explored by Today with Sean O’Rourke (Mon-Fri 10am), which spoke to Tony Geoghegan of Merchants Quay Ireland and Grace Hill of Tallaght Drug and Alcohol Taskforce; Drivetime (Mon-Fri 4.30pm) had on Aoife Frances of the National Family Support Network and Trinity Professor Joe Barry; and News at One (Mon-Fri 1pm) welcomed Minister of State Catherine Byrne.

Read The article Here

20th July 2017

HSE meets businesses over Dublin injecting facility

The Health Service Executive has said it has met with Dublin city businesses about the opening of a Supervised Injection Facility for drug users which is due before the end of the year. In a statement a spokesperson for the HSE said that the plan is to open the facility in the city centre area “where there is the preponderance of drug related deaths, drug related litter, ambulance call out for overdose and most visible public injecting scene”.

Read the RTE article 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

17th July 2017

Midwives with special skills are needed ‘to help alcoholic mothers-to-be’

Specialist midwives trained to support pregnant women with alcohol problems are needed, according to a major new strategy for tackling Ireland’s drug problem. The plan warns women in Ireland are more likely to drink during pregnancy than in any other country and are still not fully aware of the risks. And it cites the need for maternity hospitals to “strengthen their methods of detecting alcohol abuse and supporting women to reduce their intake”.

Read The article Here

13th July 2017

92 babies suffering from drug withdrawal recorded in Irish hospitals last year

Ninety-two babies were discharged from Irish hospitals with drug addiction withdrawal symptoms in 2016. Figures from the HSE released to under the Freedom of Information Act show that, between 2012 and 2016, a total of 501 babies were discharged from Ireland’s maternity hospitals with drug addiction withdrawal symptoms due to their mother’s use of drugs during pregnancy. It would be interesting to see what the figures were for alcohol or what effects maternal smoking had on pregnancy outcomes and also how many of these babies had withdrawal withdrawal symptoms that required treatment.

Read The article 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

30th June 2017

Dr Colin O’Gara letter to the Irish Times about Gambling in Ireland

Sir, The Gambling Control Bill of 2013 appears to have slipped away from legislative priority. This is of particular concern to those of us providing medical care for patients and families affected by severe gambling addiction. As a society, we continue to allow ourselves and our children to be bombarded by gambling adverts in the mainstream media, online and during sporting events.

Read Dr O’Gara’s letter to the Irish Times Here

27th June 2017

Dr Bobby Smyth letter to the Irish Times

Dr Bobby Smyth wrote a letter to Editor of the Irish Times regarding the recent British Medical Journal (BMJ) study linking moderate alcohol use to deterioration in brain health. He also urges the Government to enact the Alcohol Bill which would overhaul the way in which alcohol is sold and marketed in Ireland.

Read Dr Smyth’s letter in the Irish Times Here

23rd June 2017

Government accused of stalling medicinal cannabis Bill

An Opposition TD has accused the Government is effectively shutting down the bill to legalise medicinal cannabis. The legislation proposed by Gino Kenny of the Solidarity / People Before Profit Alliance passed the first and second stages in the Dáil, but it has not moved since December. Deputy Kenny said that he believes the Bill is being run into the ground by the Government, with summer recess beginning in July.

Read The Irish Examiner article Here

22nd June 2017

From injury to addiction: Ant McParlin and Tiger Woods aren’t the only ones struggling

‘If it can happen to someone like me, it can happen to anyone.’ That was the message from Anthony McPartlin, one half of the TV presenting duo Ant and Dec, when he revealed last weekend that he had become addicted to prescription drugs. McPartlin has checked into rehab for addiction to the opioid prescription painkiller Tramadol, as well as alcohol abuse issues.

Read The Independent article Here

20th June 2017

Kenny among TDs who helped alcohol industry lobby Health Department

Former Taoiseach Enda Kenny was among the many politicians who made representations to the Department of Health after being lobbied by the drinks industry objecting to proposed legislation to curb alcohol consumption. Mr Kenny forwarded the correspondence from his constituency office, which he received from the Reel Deel Brewing company in Ballina, Co Mayo, as recently as February last.

Read The Independent article Here

19th June 2017

Young people opposed to Good Friday alcohol law change

Young people aged 18 to 24 have the greatest opposition to changing Good Friday drinking laws, new research has found. It has discovered that the public is split almost exactly 50/50 on whether or not we should change our Good Friday drinking laws. But the majority of young people, 58pc, want to see the tradition retained and pubs to close on that day.

Read The Independent Article Here

16th June 2017

Carlsberg was top tackler of ad rules in Euros

With probably one of the best-known brand slogans in the world, it is unsurprising Carlsberg proved wiliest at circumventing local regulations designed to protect children from alcohol advertising during Euro 2016. A study entitled Foul Play: Alcohol Marketing During UEFA Euro 2016 shows the drinks industry paid little heed to the spirit of the law governing alcohol advertising, which in France, where the tournament was played, includes a ban on TV advertising.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

15th June 2017

One-third of parents think it is acceptable for under-16s to drink alcohol in the home

One in every three parents believes it is acceptable for their children to consume alcohol at home under the age of 16, according to a new report. The research by found that those who begin drinking aged 15 are four times more likely to become alcohol dependant than if they begin from 20 years of age onwards. The study also revealed that more than half of all parents surveyed believe it is acceptable for children to drink at home under the age of 18.

Read The Independent article Here

14th June 2017

Drug treatment centres shut due to user incidents.

Three drug treatment services had to close temporarily because of problems in dealing with drug users taking new psychoactive substances (NPS).Staff were confronted by clients suffering severe agitation, aggression and even violence as a result of taking the synthetic drugs. The findings are contained in a report on NPS by the European Drugs Agency. The report documents that significant harms are being posed to certain problematic users, including marginalised groups such as injecting drug users, the homeless and prisoners.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

12th June 2017

46 soldiers given marching orders after drug tests

A total of 63 members of the Irish Army have failed drug tests for substances including cocaine and cannabis in the last five years – but just 46 were discharged from duty. The compulsory random drug testing (CRDT) programme, introduced in 2002, is carried out on 10pc of the force each year. The scheme is meant to act as a deterrent, according to sources, and is aimed particularly at young recruits.

This seems like an irrational senseless approach to deciding the suitability for service. Doubtless recruits were spared alcohol testing.

Read the Independent article Here

9th June 2017

What is moderate drinking and how does it damage your health?

A pint of beer contains about two standard drinks, a bottle of wine contains seven. A study into the effects of alcohol consumption which showed that even moderate drinking has damaging effects on the brain has sparked interest about how exactly moderate drinking is defined. There is a lot of confusion about the measurement of alcohol intake, in part because units are defined differently in Ireland from the UK – our measures tend to be bigger!

Read the Irish Times article Here

6th June 2017

Alcohol is issue for most at addiction centre

More than 60% of the clients who attended an addiction treatment centre last year are holding down full-time jobs. Of those who attend programmes at the centre, alcohol is still the number one drug for the majority and is abused in combination with other substances by other clients. New figures compiled by Talbot Grove in Castleisland, Co. Kerry, reveal that over half of all clients are referred by either a family member or friend and not a medical professional.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here


1st June 2017

Drug 100 times more potent than morphine being mixed with heroin and cocaine

Gardaí are issuing warnings to the public that a drug about 100 times more potent than morphine is being mixed with heroin and cocaine. On Monday night’s Crimecall gardaí said that there was a worrying trend emerging of the opioid ‘fentanyl’ being mixed with the illegal drugs, and could result in higher numbers of overdoses.

Read The article here

24th May 2017

Vaping Could Have “An Enormous Public Health Benefit”

E-cigarettes have become increasingly popular among those aiming to give up smoking, but are they the best way forward? Dr. Ruairi Hanley sees vaping as a positive, and believes doctors should prescribe it as an alternative to cigarettes. “These vaping devices are 95% safer than ordinary cigarettes,” he said. With five to six thousand people a year dying from smoking related illnesses, he thinks vaping devices could have an “enormous public health benefit.”

Listen to The Last Word interview Here (starts at 4 minutes)

18th May 2017

Alcohol or drugs were key factor in 80% of Cork suicide cases in study

Alcohol or drugs have been detected in eight out of 10 suicides examined in a study of 121 cases in Cork over a six-year period. The analysis is one of the first to compare young people (aged 15-24) and adults (aged 25-34) in terms of socio-democratic factors, substance abuse and method characteristics. The study was conducted by researchers attached to the National Suicide Research Foundation in University College Cork, the university’s Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, and St Patrick’s Mental Health Services in Cork. The study looked at 61 suicides of young peopleand 60 of adults between 2007 and 2012.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

16th May 2017

‘It takes me away from this world for the day’: Life as a homeless drug-user on the streets of Dublin

Heroin users are often stigmatised for using this drug in a way alcohol or tobacco users never are. This interesting article by Daragh Brophy of the looks at the lived experience of a heroin user from a number of different perspectives. Dr McGovern gave his views from a treatment standpoint.

Read the article Here

9th May 2017

Irish Pharmacy Union calls for decriminalisation of drugs for personal use

The Irish Pharmacy Union has added its voice to those calling for the decriminalisation of drugs for personal use. At its national conference over the weekend the union voted in favour of a motion calling for the possession of small amounts of drugs for personal use to be treated as a health rather than as a criminal issue.  The forthcoming National Drug Strategy, to be published later in the summer by the Minister of State for drugs, Catherine Byrne, will also call for such a move.

Read the Irish Times Article Here

2nd May 2017

Survey: Eight out of 10 motorists ‘very supportive’ of roadside drug testing but how well informed are they about the evidence behind the testing?

A survey has found that 97% of motorists would support new roadside drug testing measures. Almost 80% of more than 3,000 motorists surveyed by AA Ireland said they were “very supportive” of the new measures, with an additional 12.38% “somewhat supportive”. These same motorists might feel different if they realised that the evidence of positive results and driving impairment show a poor correlation and many motorists who will be prosecuted may well be done so having not been impaired by drugs at all.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

25th April 2017

Drugs: ‘How is arresting someone for something that they are addicted to helping?

At the Labour Party Conference in Wexford last weekend the delegates voted through two significant motions regarding drug policy reform in Ireland. One was to legalise and regulate the sale and consumption of cannabis, the other was to decriminalise all personal drug use. One speaker, Emmet Stagg, said that he had proposed a motion to legalise cannabis fifteen years ago and he was almost lynched. It shows where the drug debate has moved to in Ireland and indeed internationally.

Read The article Here

24th April 2017

Four significant drug policy motions carried at IMO AGM 2017


Four major motions were carried at the IMO AGM 2017 in Galway last weekend. These included issues such as evidence based clinical guidelines, electronic cigarettes, medicinal cannabis and supervised injecting rooms. Dr McGovern and his colleague Dr Cathal O Sullióbháin presented these topics as part of the General Motions presentation at the event.

Read the IMO AGM Motions 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

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

28th March 2017

Surge in teenage alcohol-related admissions at children’s hospital

There were more than five times as many teenage admissions to one of the State’s main children’s hospitals due to alcohol use last year compared with 2015, new figures show. Alcohol-related cases among children aged between 13 and 17 dropped to a four-year low at Temple Street Children’s Hospital in 2015, when just four such patients were admitted and later discharged. However, the number spiked significantly to 21 last year – the highest recorded since 2012.

Read The Irish Times article Here

23rd March 2017

Ireland top of the table for drinking at home

Ireland tops the table of 25 countries for people drinking at home before going on a night out — with more than four out of five surveyed engaging in “pre-drinking”. Research conducted by a team of international academics puts Ireland in fourth place for the prevalence of heavy drinkers. The findings, published in Drug and Alcohol Review, said that pre-drinking, also known as “pre-loading”, was linked with heavier drinking and negative alcohol-related consequences.

Read The Irish Examiner article Here

20th March 2017

RTE Drivetime with Mary Wilson discusses Gambling Addiction

This week as our airwaves fill with news from the Cheltenham races, addiction services in Ireland are warning that this time of year can be a particular problem for at risk gamblers. Della Kilroy had this report. Dr McGovern was asked for his thoughts on this emerging problem in Ireland.

Listen to RTE Drivetime Here

10th March 2017

Injecting facility ‘clinical structure’ is key

Governance, clinical appropriateness and a Dublin location will all be factors in the location of the country’s first supervised injecting facility. The location of any pilot supervised injecting facility has not yet been decided upon, beyond the fact that it would be in Dublin, the HSE has indicated. The decision in relation to the final location would be made by the HSE following an appropriate procurement process, taking into account the need in the area and the “demonstration of appropriate clinical and managerial governance structures”, the Executive said.

Read the Irish Medical Times article Here

6th March 2017

Footage emerges of alleged effects of synthetic cannabinoids (“Spice”) on streets of UK.

Shocking footage shows homeless people being turned into the ‘walking dead’ after taking the drug Spice. The video, shot in Manchester city centre, captures disturbing scenes of people frozen like statues as the substance takes hold of their whole body. The city has experienced a surge in ambulance call outs after users have fallen victim to the drug’s lethal side effects, with some left keeling over and smashing up their faces.

Read The Daily Mail article 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

27th February 2017

‘Personal drug allowance would help injecting centre succeed’ writes Derek Byrne

I was glad to hear that the Government had finally confirmed plans to open a medically supervised injecting facility for intravenous drug users in Dublin later this year. We were told by Ministers that the pilot facility, to be opened at an as-yet undecided location in the city centre, will be staffed by medics trained to deal with overdoses. Drug users will be able to access sterile needles and rooms to inject the drugs they have brought with them.

Read The Irish Times article Here

23rd February 2017

Open cocaine use “normalised” in Irish pubs – councillor

The use of cocaine has become normalised and socially acceptable in pubs across the country according to a Clare County Councillor. Councillor Alan O’Callaghan said the use of the drug is open, publicly visible and becoming as acceptable as smoking a cigarette. The Fianna Fáil East Clare councillor raised the issue before the Joint Policing Committee in the county on Monday.

Read the Newstalk article Here

22nd February 2017

Publicans call for end to 90-year-old Good Friday alcohol ban

Publicans have called for the 90-year-old ban on serving alcohol on Good Friday to be lifted. In a now annual plea, the two main organisations representing the licensed pub trade have asked the Government to introduce what they believe is a simple piece of legislation to allow them open their doors on that day. The Licensed Vintners Association, representing Dublin publicans, and the Vintners Federation of Ireland, which represents pubs outside the capital, said the current law was “archaic and discriminatory”.

Read the Irish Times article Here

20th February 2017

Could your bottle of beer soon carry scary, cigarette-style warning labels?

When you buy a pack of cigarettes in Ireland, around 65% of the box is taken up with health warnings. It tells you that “smoking kills” and that “tobacco smoke contains over 70 substances known to cause cancer” along with a graphic warning of what smoking can do to our teeth, lungs and throat.

Read The article Here

17th February 2017

Alcohol is having a devastating impact on our young people’s mental health – Minister McEntee

National Taskforce on Youth Mental Health discusses the damage alcohol is doing to the mental health of our young people in the context of the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill. Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People Helen McEntee today (Wednesday) reiterated her support for the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill. The Minister was speaking after the National Taskforce on Youth Mental Health discussed, at its recent meeting, the damage alcohol is doing to the mental health of our young people in the context of the Bill.

Read the Dept. of Health Press release Here

13th February 2017

Drugs, alcohol and social status used to coerce young children into life of crime

Criminals use drugs, alcohol and the notion of status to entrap children as young as 11 into a life of crime, according to new research from the University of Limerick. The study – Lifting the Lid on Greentown – looks at a criminal network operating in an anonymous community outside of Dublin (with the codename Greentown).

Read The article Here

10th February 2017

Irish Cancer Society slow to endorse vaping

Health experts may have given vaping the thumbs up for ex-smokers, but they stopped short of saying e-cigarettes are safe to use, the Irish Cancer Society has warned.The first long-term study of the effects of vaping in ex-smokers found that people who switched from real to e-cigarettes had far fewer toxins and cancer-causing substances in their bodies than regular smokers.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

9th February 2017

Minister proposes an automatic driving ban for anyone caught drink driving

An automatic driving ban for anyone caught drink driving is among tough new measures proposed by Transport Minister Mr Shane Ross. Noting that close to a quarter of people (22pc) convicted of drink driving were found to be four times over the legal blood/alcohol limit, Mr Ross will tell a Dáil committee today the current sanction of three penalty points for a drink driving conviction is not enough to deter people from getting behind the wheel after drinking.

Read The 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

3rd February 2017

Gardaí: No evidence drug linked to teen death is in circulation

Gardaí say they have no evidence to suggest that a potentially lethal synthetic drug which has been linked to the death of a teenager in Cork two weeks ago is still in circulation. They were responding to claims by a local councillor that the deadly substance, U-47700, known on the street as U4, is still being pushed by dealers in the same area where suspected drugs death victim Michael Cornacchia lived.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

27th January 2017

Gardaí need ‘balance’ to drug centre

Gardaí need to develop a “balanced” and “consistent” approach to policing the planned supervised drug injecting centre, a former top Australian police commander has said. Pat Paroz said it was “critical” that Garda management was clear about the law regarding such centres and develop a document on policies and procedures in implementing it on the ground. In a major shift in policy, Ireland is set to have its first medically supervised injecting centre this year.

Read The Irish Examiner article Here

25th January 2017

U-47700 death: ‘As we pretend that policing drugs deters users, we can expect more harm, more deaths’

Our drug policy isn’t working and it’s time to embrace a more rational and open approach, writes Dr Garrett McGovern. The death last week in Cork of a 16-year-old boy brought shockwaves to the community that someone so young could be taken so soon, and in such tragic circumstances. It has been reported that this death may be implicated with a drug that has hit the streets recently called U-47700, which most people, including many drug treatment specialists, will not be familiar with.

Read The article Here

19th January 2017

Warning issued over dangerous new drug in Cork following death of 16-year-old

The HSE has issued a public health warning to illegal drug users in the Cork area over a powerful new drug. The warning comes following the death of 16-year-old Michael Cornacchia at his home in the Deermount area from a believed overdose. The HSE warning concerns the drug U-47700, also known as U-4. It has only been discovered for the first time in Ireland recently.

Read The article Here

12th January 2017

Comment: Dry January just makes alcohol a taboo – and all the more tempting

Lorraine Courtney writes in the Independent – It’s that time again – ‘dry January’ – and if you drink regularly, it might be daunting. The problem is that, what with alcohol being such a huge part of our culture and social life, it has become a routine habit for many people. Most of us find it very hard to give drink up for a whole month, all the while arguing that we aren’t dependent on it.

Read the article 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

19th December 2016

It’s time to smoke out the lies about cannabis

Whilst the content and detail behind this article will be heavily debated the almost Armageddon scenario about cannabis described by the author is probably an advertisement for a more enlightened approach to the laws that govern this drug. The article also goes on to say that the so called war on drugs is nonsense and was never actually fought in Ireland.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

16th December 2016

‘Don’t let the hidden harm of alcohol abuse define you’

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.

Read the Irish Times article Here

15th December 2016

Dual diagnosis conference hears more compassion needed in services

Speaking in Sligo on Friday, following a conference on the issue of dual diagnosis: mental health and addiction, in the Riverside Hotel, Sinn Féin TD, Martin Kenny,  said that the mental health services must respond to the challenges of dual diagnosis, which is a more common phenomenon now than ever before. Carol Moore of Dual Diagnosis Ireland told the gathering that her experience of the Irish health service was that much improvement had taken place over decades, except in the case of substance misuse and mental illness.

Read the Leitrim Observer article Here

9th December 2016

500 people die of alcohol-related cancer in Ireland every year

Alcohol is the cause of around 900 incidences of cancer in Ireland each year, and 500 of these patients will die of their disease. Alcohol is a known cause of seven types of cancer – mouth, throat, voice box, gullet, breast, bowel and liver. Overall, 10% of all cancers in men and 3% in women are caused by alcohol. While there are no ‘safe’ alcohol limits, the more you drink, the greater the risk of cancer.

Read The article Here

8th December 2016

‘It’s just madness’: Publicans brace themselves for 12 pubs

It’s December that means but one thing: Christmas jumpers and over-zealous drinkers invading bars and pubs across the country on their annual polluted pilgrimage known as the 12 pubs. For the uninitiated, the tradition is a pub crawl through 12 pubs, usually accompanied by a rule for each watering hole.

Read The article Here

7th December 2016

Seizures of illicit prescription drugs soaring

Seizures of illicit anti-anxiety and hypnotic medication have soared in the last two years. Seizures of benzodiazepines, a group of anti-anxiety medication, jumped 11-fold between 2013 and 2015, while seizures of so-called Z-drugs, a group of hypnotics, rose six-fold in the same time period.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

6th December 2016

Police back walk-in booth for clubbers to test drug purity

Good news from the UK. Booths allowing young clubbers to check the quality of their illegal class-A drugs are set to be deployed on the streets of a British city — with the full support of police. Preston, in Lancashire, is expected to launch the country’s first public, walk-up drug-checking service in the new year, operating in the city centre on Friday and Saturday evenings. Revellers will be able to test the purity of their drugs before deciding whether to take them.

Read the Times article Here

5th December 2016

Garda vow to help injecting centre

Garda bosses have told legislators that the organisation will do “all it can” to help the pilot supervised injecting centre to succeed. Assistant Commissioner John O’Driscoll told the Oireachtas Health Committee that the “less ambiguity” in the legislation the better in order to limit issues in policing the facilities. He accepted public injecting was “unhygienic and poses a significant health risk for the drug users” and resulted in discarded needles, presenting a public health risk to others.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

4th December 2016

Gambling, alcohol and freedom from the problem

Dr McGovern was invited to discuss problem gambling with Host Ger Gilroy, Journalist Declan Lynch and ex Dublin GAA player and author John Leonard on Newstalk’s Off the Ball. Gambling is a billion euro industry and the way in which gambling is utilised by players has changed dramatically in the past 10 years.

Listen to the Newstalk’s Off the Ball podcast Here

30th November 2016

Politics and the alcohol Bill

Two letters were written to the editor of the Irish Times which highlighted the inordinately slow enactment of the alcohol Bill which many professionals and commentators in the field believe will reduce alcohol related harm in Ireland.

Read the Irish Times letters Here

29th November 2016

Judge rounds on class view of drugs

The distinction, in the public eye, of drug use between middle-class young people and those in less affluent areas was highlighted by a sentencing judge yesterday. Judge Gerard O’Brien said a sense of middle-class entitlement by young people looking for the “greatest high” formed the background to a Co Cork teenager’s death at an orgy of drink and drugs. Teenager Alex Ryan paid the ultimate price by taking a so-called designer drug, N-bomb, at a Cork City party last January.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

25th November 2016

Irish teens consume significantly less alcohol than their European counterparts

Some good news! Irish teenagers are drinking far less than the average European of the same age, a mew study by the OECD found. The continent wide stats body found that the number of 15 year olds who have experienced drunkenness at least twice was 16% in Ireland compared to 24% across Europe. The amount of adults drinking also declined with the OECD reporting the average consumption fell from 14 litres in 2000 to 11 litres in 2014.

Read the article Here

24th November 2016

‘I’ve seen this work’: Mother takes fight for medical cannabis to Leinster House

The Oireachteas Committee on health has heard that the potential benefits of cannabis-based treatments offers a “tantalising new horizon” for epilepsy sufferers. A session this morning on the examination of the merits of the licensing of medical cannabinoids also heard the case of a young girl whose rate of seizures dropped dramatically when treated with a high cannabidiol (CBD) cannabis extract.

Read the article Here

21st November 2016

Dublin Businesses Hit Out At Planned Drug Injecting Centre

Dublin businesses are up in arms over a proposed drug injecting unit in the city centre. Local retailers claim the facility would lead to increased crime and drug dealing. One supervised injecting centre is to open on a pilot basis in the coming months. The Temple Bar Company, the Licensed Vintners Association and the Restaurants Association of Ireland all wrote to the Government last week opposing the plans. The evidence from centres in other countries is that drug dealing and crime are much less conspicuous with these facilities.

Read the Irish 98FM article Here

18th November 2016

Alcohol bill increases coalition tensions

Relations between government partners Independent Alliance and Fine Gael are deteriorating further after a second public row in 24 hours, this time over the sale of alcohol in shops. Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Transport Minister Shane Ross clashed this week over whether judges should be required to declare interests as “they might forget their oath”. Mr Kenny publicly rebuked the Alliance minister, saying he did not accept the claim as he disassociated himself from Mr Ross’ opinion.

Read the Examiner article Here

17th November 2016

To vape or not to vape?

Dr Garrett McGovern

Dr McGovern believes that vaping is a far safer alternative than smoking. For some public health experts, vaping may be the ‘silver bullet’ in the fight against tobacco smoking, but support is not universal. David Lynch reports. The Department of Health believes “further research” is needed into the long-term impact on public health from e-cigarettes. However, the Department told the Medical Independent (MI) it does acknowledge that e-cigarettes “may have a role to play in smoking cessation or reduction”.

Read the Medical Independent article Here

15th November 2016

Ireland’s Minister of Health Promises to Look into Medical Marijuana

Around the world, more and more countries are opening up to the idea of allowing marijuana as medicine. With research coming out of every corner of the globe showing its effectiveness in treating several severely debilitating medical conditions, it only makes sense that more governments are taking steps to make this medicine accessible by those who need it. Let’s hope the wait for this vital drug is not too long.

Read the Marijuana Times article Here

14th November 2016

The war on drugs is lost… so what do we do now?

Government research shows decriminalisation and taxation of our illicit drugs trade may be the way forward. Although the official Government line is that drugs decriminalisation “is not being discussed”, the mounting evidence from its own research is that Ireland has lost the “war on drugs”. In 2000, the then Government ruled that research should begin into the drugs markets, and it set up the National Advisory Committee on Drugs and Alcohol (NACDA).

Read the article Here

9th November 2016

Expert report into medicinal cannabis law ordered

A family from Co Cork has met the Minister for Health as part of their campaign for the legalisation of medicinal marijuana. Vera Twomey’s six-year-old daughter Ava has a rare, drug-resistant form of epilepsy called Dravet syndrome, which can result in up to 20 seizures a day. The family wants tetrahydrocannabinol -THC – a component of cannabis to be legalised, as they believe it could help reduce the number of life-threatening seizures Ava has.

Read the RTE article Here

8th November 2016

New report heavily criticises Diageo-led alcohol awareness campaign

A recently published report determined that the Diageo funded Stop-Out-Of-Control-Drinking campaign, meets the needs of the alcohol industry, rather than public health in Ireland. The report was published by the Public Library of Science (PLOS ONE), an international journal that focuses on science and medicine. It was written and researched by six health academics in UCC, London and Stirling, Scotland.

Read the Irish Times article Here

3rd November 2016

We must stop looking at addiction as a moral failing

People suffering from addiction are among the most stigmatised in Ireland. Sadly, addicts are still seen as morally flawed and reprehensible in a way that often prevents them from seeking help. Addiction, whether it be to alcohol, drugs or gambling, probably has an impact on every Irish home in some way. Statistics relating to alcohol alone are frightening. For example, Health Research Board figures tell us one in four deaths of men aged between 15 and 40 are due to alcohol, as are more than one in 10 cases of breast cancer.

Read the Irish Times article Here

25th October 2016

“We’re losing the battle against drugs”: GAA star calls for decriminalisation after brother’s death

Dublin GAA star Philly McMahon has called for decriminalisation of drugs for personal use in Ireland in the wake of the death of his brother. His comments on Claire Byrne Live came as a poll carried out by the show found that 44% of Irish people would support decriminalisation of small amounts of drugs for personal use.

Read the article Here

21st October 2016

Highest rate of HIV diagnoses in Republic recorded in 2015

The rate of HIV diagnoses in the Republic last year was the highest ever recorded and almost twice that of other EU states, figures from the Health Service Executive show. There were 485 people newly recorded as having the virus, a rate of 10.6 per 100,000. The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control reported a rate of 5.9 per 100,000 in 2014 – the latest available – for the EU and European Economic Area. Lack of access to treatment for injecting has undoubtedly increased the prevalence.

Read the Irish Times article Here

20th October 2016

Fianna Fáil calls for relaxing of criminal offences for drugs

People caught with small amounts of drugs shuld be directed towards healthcare rather than immediately convicted of a criminal offence, according to a new policy being put forward by Fianna Fáil. The proposal from Dublin West TD Jack Chambers the party’s spokesman on community and the national drugs strategy, was taken on by the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party this week.

Read the Irish Times article Here

19th October 2016

Almost 30% of Irish people are binge drinkers, survey reveals

Only one in four Irish people get their five-a-day, and nearly 30% of us are binge drinkers. That’s according to the latest Healthy Ireland survey which also shows 42% of people eat six or more portions of snack food a day. The figures suggest one in four Irish people smoke, while 59% say they are too busy to do more exercise.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

14th October 2016

Minister Catherine Byrne announces additional funding of €3m in Budget 2017 for drugs and social inclusion measures

Catherine Byrne TD, Minister of State for Communities and the National Drugs Strategy, has announced the allocation of an additional €3m in Budget 2017 to support drugs and social inclusion measures. Whilst this money is welcome it is unlikely to make any significant impact on real issues such as lack of access to treatment for many blighted by heroin addiction.

Read the Government Press Release Here

13th October 2016

Drugs taskforce has bigger brief on fraction of money

The budget of the unit dedicated to tackling drug and alcohol addiction in the West of Ireland has been slashed during the recession. Ten years ago, the Western Region Drugs Taskforce had an annual budget of €1.3 million to deliver services in Galway city and county, Roscommon, and Mayo. But, despite alcohol being added to its brief (since 2014 it is known as the Western Region Drugs and Alcohol Taskforce), the organisation now receives an annual budget of just €660,000.

Read the Connacht Tribune article Here

11th October 2016

Bad side-effects of drugs such as Valium a ‘medical disaster’

This article is quite critical of the ‘over-prescribing’ of benzodiazepines but neglects to address the real problem with these sedative drugs. There is little or no help for users with severe dependencies. Benzodiazepines in therapeutic doses are relatively safe drugs. Sadly there are significant numbers of users who take much larger doses and need properly staffed inpatient facilities to come off the drug.

Read the Irish Times article Here

10th October 2016

‘I overdosed twice in two days to get methadone’: A drug user on trying to get clean

File photo

Heroin users in Galway are intentionally overdosing in an attempt to fast-track their access to methadone. The practice is said to be becoming more common, and the issue was discussed at a recent public consultation meeting in the city about the new National Drug Strategy. The current plan covers 2009-16.

Read the Here

7th October 2016

Feedback encouraged on national drugs strategy

There is still time to inform the new National Drugs Strategy, the Department of Health has said. In a press release this afternoon, the Department said it would like to hear what service users, individuals, families and organisations think are the important issues to be considered in the new strategy before 18 October.

Read the Medical Independent article Here

5th October 2016

Dr McGovern’s presentation at Global Addiction conference 2016 in Venice: Is it fear, lack of training or regulations that restrict optimal use of Opioid substitution treatment in Ireland?

There are no specialist training programmes in Ireland for Doctors willing to do this work and there has never been peer reviewed clinical guidelines which is reflected in some of the practices on the ground. This presentation reviews the history, evolution and problems with MAT in Ireland as well as a reflection on some of its undoubted successes.

Read the Global Addiction 2016 Programme Here


30th September 2016

Gardaí Don’t Have Resources To Carry Out Drug Spot Checks

Gardai Don't Have Resources To Carry Out Drug Spot Checks

Senior gardai have admitted they are checking fewer people for drugs. It’s because they have to dedicate more resources to tackle the ongoing Hutch/Kinahan war. The gangland feud has been linked to 10 brutal murders resulting in a diversion of garda resources. For example there has been a massive 62% drop in gardai stopping and searching people for drugs in the city centre and north inner city.

Read the 98FM article Here


29th September 2016

‘Drug-driving’ test to focus on cocaine, cannabis, heroin

Mr Ross said the 20km/h limit would not be appropriate to all housing estates. Photograph: Cyril Byrne / The Irish Times

Gardaí will be able to conduct roadside tests on motorists suspected of being under the influence of cocaine, cannabis and heroin under legislation introduced in the Dáil. Minister for Transport Shane Ross said it was time to do strengthen the law on drug driving in a manner similar to current drink driving legislation. Let’s hope that common sense prevails when it comes to prescribed medication.

Read the Irish Times article Here

26th September 2016

Office of Public Works says drug use an issue in St Stephen’s Green park

A file image of an entrance to St Stephen’s Green Park in Dublin. The Office of Public Works says enough rubbish to fill more than 20 household wheelie bins is removed from the park every morning amid criticism of alleged drug use in the city centre space. Photograph: Aidan Crawley.

Enough rubbish to fill more than 20 household wheelie bins is removed from St Stephen’s Green Park in Dublin every morning, the Office of Public Works (OPW) has said. The OPW, which is responsible for the upkeep of the park, was responding to criticism of alleged open drug use and sightings of discarded drug paraphernalia in the city centre site. This is another example of the urgent need for supervised injecting centres and sharps bins for drug litter.

Read the Irish Times article Here

22nd September 2016

Rising numbers hospitalised for taking anabolic steroids

The country’s medicine watchdog, the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA), has warned of the dangers of the prescription drugs. New figures from the HSE show the increasing health toll of the drugs. Anabolic steroids are male sexual hormones, and include testosterone, which builds muscle tissue. In 2005, 185 people were hospitalised for taking anabolic steroids. Last year, this figure had almost doubled to 348 . The HPRA warned young people against illegally pumping up on steroids.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

16th September 2016

The methadone trap?

Dr McGovern was interviewed by the Medical Independent who ran a story on methadone treatment and its benefits to patients with opioid dependence. He stated “The evidence says that the longer you are on this treatment, the better you do. I don’t see anybody talking about the length of treatment where people are on warfarin or cardiac medication.”

Read the Medical Independent article Here

15th September 2016

The dangerous drugs abused by city’s 100 ‘Walking Dead’

The title of this article, which appeared in the Herald, only adds to the stigma associated with drug use and homelessness. The more important question is what can be done to improve the lives of the people who seem to cause so much upset for others? Drug dealing and drug use on the streets is a complex issue but good, evidence based treatment which meets drug users’ needs, supervised injecting centres and the proper regulation of currently illegal drugs would go a long way to improving the problems in the city centre.

Read the Herald article Here

13th September 2016

Medical cannabis: Is it high time for a change?

A bill tabled in the Dáil in July has put the issue back on the political agenda and this week Dublin prepares to host a global summit on medical marijuana. But Irish patients who want to use the drug to alleviate their symptoms are still in limbo.

Read the Independent article Here

7th September 2016

Public Consultation on the new National Drugs Strategy

Minister of State for Communities and the National Drugs Strategy, Catherine Byrne TD, has announced details of a public consultation on the new National Drugs Strategy. The new Strategy will set out Government policy on tackling the drug problem from 2017 onwards.

Read the article Here

30th August 2016

Parents’ play key role in children’s drinking habits

A third of adolescents and half of parents report “hazardous drinking”, according to a University College Cork study. Documenting a strong link between the liberal attitudes of parents to alcohol and their children’s drinking, the research urges health-action plans to target both the behaviour of adolescents and the attitudes of their parents. The study noted the different influences of fathers and mothers in their children’s behaviour and attitudes to alcohol.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

24th August 2016

ChemSex in Ireland Training: Register Now

This training will address ChemSex contexts/motivations, risk assessments, harm reduction information, HIV/HCV/STI implications and will support attendees to develop appropriate support services and psychosocial interventions. Training will be provided by David Stewart, Substance Use Lead at 56 Dean Street London (An NHS sexual health clinic based in Soho which offer full outpatients HIV clinic services).

Read the article Here

12th August 2016

Dr McGovern spoke to Matt Cooper on the Last Word on Today FM about cannabis use in the young

Dr McGovern, Medical Director at the Priority Medical Clinic, was interviewed about youth cannabis use on the Last Word on August 11th. Dr Harry Barry, a GP who specialises in mental health also gave his views on the issue.

Listen to the Last Word interview Here

11th August 2016

Ireland most expensive EU country in which to buy alcohol

Ireland is the most expensive country in the European Union in which to buy alcohol with prices at 175% of the EU average, according to new data from Eurostat. The EU’s statistics agency also said Ireland is the second most expensive for tobacco at 189% of the EU average, with only the United Kingdom higher at 218%. On average the cost of food and non-alcoholic drinks in Ireland is, at 119% of the EU average, fourth highest in the EU. Only Denmark (145%), Sweden (124%), Austria (120%) are more expensive.

Read the article Here

10th August 2016

Charity slams drinks industry call for tax cut

Alcohol Action Ireland has criticised attempts by the drinks industry to use Brexit as a way to secure a 15% reduction in tax on alcoholic drinks. Last month, the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland (DIGI) used its pre-budget submission to demand the reduction. It said a cut in alcohol excise was a “vital response to the new and immediate effect of the uncertainty caused by Brexit”.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

9th August 2016

Irish women trapped in an abusive relationship with alcohol

Recent media reports of an emerging trend in younger women in their 30s and 40s developing liver failure due to increased alcohol consumption may have surprised many who read the headlines but to those of us who work in the field of addiction, there was no surprise. Studies on alcohol consumption in Ireland have long pointed to a significant rise among young women since the early 2000s, with the introduction of alcopops and increased marketing of designer alcoholic products aimed at women during the Celtic Tiger period.

Read the Irish Times article Here

8th August 2016

‘Sharp rise’ in number of women dying from alcohol related illness

A new trend is emerging of younger women running into problems with alcohol, a liver specialist has said. Professor Frank Murray of Beaumont Hospital and president of Royal College of Physicians in Ireland has warned that Irish people are underestimating how much they drink and the harm it can cause.

Read the Irish Times article Here

5th August 2016

ECMDDA Report shows heroin is the top drug related hospital admissions

Dr McGovern spoke to Newstalk Breakfast about a new ECMDDA report which looked at drug related hospital admissions at a number of sites around Europe, including hospitals in Dublin and Drogheda. Heroin was the number one drug implicated in accidental poisonings and the centre in Dublin ranked in the top five in terms of drug related incidents.

Listen to Dr McGovern’s interview on Newstalk Here

4th August 2016

John Halligan calls for HSE-run drug shops

The junior minister for education has suggested that the opening of HSE-run drug shops should be considered and that the use of drugs should be decriminalised. Independent TD John Halligan has also said that prostitution should be regulated and that ministerial wages, including his own, should be reduced further. Mr Halligan, in a very personal interview for the latest edition of Hot Press, also said that he had a healthy sex life with his partner and that God did not exist.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

2nd August 2016

HSE Alert: Fentanyl Implicated in Overdose Deaths

Arising from a number of drug related deaths in Dublin and Cork in recent weeks, the HSE is issuing an alert in relation to the dangers of a class of Opiate drugs known as Fentanyls. While fentanyl is a narcotic analgesic and used in both anaesthetics and for analgesia, a number of non pharmaceutical Fentanyls have been implicated in deaths where it has been assumed to be Heroin (or in some cases possibly other drugs).

Read the HSE statement Here

1st August 2016

A doctor writes: medical benefits of cannabis beyond doubt

CBD oil reduces seizure activity without side effects of cannabis yet its use is restricted in Ireland. The benefits of cannabis in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) have been well described. It reduces muscle cramps and relaxes bladder and bowel sphincters. And it has been shown to reduce the pressure in the eyeball that leads to glaucoma.

Read the Irish Times article Here

27th July 2016

Could Irish festivalgoers be allowed to test illegal drugs before taking them?

An independent music festival in Cambridgeshire made headlines this weekend when it became the first UK event of its kind to facilitate drug-testing for attendees. The Secret Garden Party allowed festivalgoers to test their illegal drugs as part of a 10-minute package of health and safety guidance. More than 80 “substances of concern” were checked, with police approval, over the first day and a half of the event. Dr McGovern is very supportive of drug purity testing and gives his views on the subject.

Read the Newstalk article Here

21st July 2016

“Urinate in 5 minutes or lose your treatment”

Dual Diagnosis Ireland highlighted the issue of dignity, respect and human rights in their latest e-zine. They published a copy of a poster that was on the wall of a treatment centre which demanded patients provide a urine for screening within minutes or their medication could be reduced or removed.

Read the Dual Diagnosis Ireland article Here

20th July 2016

Decriminalise all drugs says Junior Justice Minister

A newly appointed junior justice minister wants personal possession of all illegal drugs to be decriminalised as part of the Government’s plan to tackle gangland crime. Speaking for the first time since taking office, Mr Stanton also revealed Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald is supportive of the proposal.

Read the Independent article Here

19th July 2016

Why is my pharmacist wary about codeine?

Q: I tend to keep painkillers at home just in case I need them. I find that paracetamol or ibuprofen is never strong enough so I like to keep something with codeine around. My pharmacist recently told me she would prefer if I had a prescription. Do I need one?

Read the Independent article Here

14th July 2016

‘Mass drug overdose’ on New York City street

More than 30 people became ill in an apparent mass drug overdose on a New York City street corner, sparking warnings from police and health chiefs. Calls started coming in on Tuesday morning that numerous people appeared to be overdosing in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighbourhood of Brooklyn. Witnesses reported seeing victims lying on the pavement, shaking and leaning against trees and fire hydrants.

Read the article Here

13th July 2016

Public drug use cannot be eliminated but it can be much better managed

Tony Duffin, Director of the Ana Liffey Project, says that supervised injecting centres may not solve the Dublin City drug problem but it will greatly improve the conditions in which drug users take their drugs, significantly reduce overdose incidence and also clean the streets of drug using paraphernalia. Minister Catherine Byrne says that people will be fearful but the current situation is no sustainable.

Read the article Here

11th July 2016

Dr McGovern joins the Hot Press ‘Think Tank’ to discuss Irish Drug policy

As Fine Gael’s Catherine Byrne TD gets to grips with her new Minister For Drugs brief, Hot Press brought bring her predecessor Senator Aodhán Ó Ríordáin of the Labour Party together with four experts to decide how Ireland’s chronic heroin problem can best be tackled. If a reminder of Ireland’s chronic heroin problem were needed, it came in April when two Dublin men overdosed within both days, and metres, of one another.

Read the Hot Press article Here

8th July 2016

New law on drug dealing will criminalise ‘vulnerable addicts’

A new law will not combat drug dealing or gangland crime but will criminalise “vulnerable addicts”, it has been claimed in the Dáil. The Government has been accused of a “lack of urgency” over the drugs problem and of failing to show leadership on the issue. During a debate on the Misuse of Drugs Bill 2016 in the Dáil last night, Sinn Féin TD Jonathan O’Brien said the legislation is “about as far away” as you can get from the promises in the programme for government. “Punitive legislation as a policy response does not work and has never been proven to work and this bill simply creates scapegoats rather than solutions,” he said.

Read the Irish Examiner Here

6th July 2016

One in five admit ‘alcohol-related harms’ in Galway survey

One in five people admitted to “alcohol-related harms” due to their drinking habits in a new survey of alcohol use in Galway city. Over half of those who participated in the HSE sponsored survey have “hazardous” drinking habits, while 18 per cent of respondents believe it is “acceptable” to give a 15-year-old child alcohol at home. Some 44 per cent of respondents think it is acceptable to allow 16- and 17-year-olds to use alcohol at home.

Read the Irish Times article Here

5th July 2016

Street sale of prescription drugs to be made illegal

Minister for Health Simon Harris said he introduced the bill “as one part of the whole-of-government approach in dealing with the serious crime situation in the north inner city of Dublin”. The Misuse of Drugs (Amendment) Bill 2016 was only introduced to the Seanad on June 23. The legislation was not due for debate until the autumn but the Government decided to “expedite” it because of the “recent murders in Dublin’s north inner city,” he said. Unfortunately, this bill is unlikely to reduce the prevalence of dealing on the streets or reduce gangland crime. Furthermore, it will further stigmatise and criminalise those who have a problem with prescription drugs.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

28th June 2016

New drugs Bill causes division in Seanad

There was a sharp division in the Seanad when Minister for Health Simon Harris introduced legislation to amend the Misuse of Drugs Act for prescription medicines.Mr Harris said legislation was part of the Government’s approach to dealing with the serious crime situation in the north inner city of Dublin. Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin and Labour supported the legislation to committee stage but Independent Senators Lynn Ruane and Colette Gllagher strongly opposed the legislation.

Read the Irish Times article Here

24th June 2016

Deprivation of Dublin’s inner city

The prevalence of prescription drug-dealing and the severe lack of drug-free recovery centres in Dublin’s north inner city are some of the challenges facing the area, according to its community leaders. “We held a community brainstorming session to inform the government taskforce that’s being set up to address the issues of deprivation in the north inner city,” addiction counsellor at Hope, Irene Crawley, told the Irish Examiner.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

23rd June 2016

Alcohol consumption’s devastating impact on Ireland’s health reflects the need for urgent action

Alcohol Action Ireland, the national charity for alcohol-related issues, has said that the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill must be implemented without further delay to reduce alcohol harm in Ireland. “The Health Research Board’s (HRB) analysis of the hospital in-patient reporting system clearly shows the huge burden that harmful drinking places on our health service and on individuals, families and communities throughout Ireland. It is important to remember that each one of the hundreds of thousands of ‘discharges’ in this study is someone who has suffered ill-health due to their drinking, with many of those people dying as a result,” said Conor Cullen, Head of Advocacy and Communication”

Read the article Here

21st June 2016

Is the government giving up on medically supervised drug injecting centres?

Provisions for medically supervised injecting centres aren’t included in the latest proposed new drug laws that were brought to government this week. Health minister Simon Harris brought a bill to government on Tuesday to do with making the possession of certain drugs illegal. The Misuse of Drugs (Amendment) Bill was originally brought forward by the last government and had been given the go-ahead in December before the Dáil was dissolved. Let’s hope this is an oversight as this initiative needs to be realised.

Read The article Here

20th June 2016

Ecstasy warning after pills found with double or triple doses in UK

Drugs harm reduction campaigners are warning about high-strength ecstasy pills on the market in Britain after an analysis of drugs at a Manchester festival found some that contained double or even triple doses. This is a stark reminder of the perils of drug prohibition where drugs sold on the black market can cause significant harm as the dose and purity are largely unknown.

Read The Guardian article Here

16th June 2016

Experts call on decriminalisation As ‘War On Drugs’ Fails

Top public health experts say illicit drug use should be treated as a health issue rather than punishing those who need treatment. The Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) and the Faculty of Public Health (FPH) said the personal possession and use of all illegal drugs should no longer be considered a criminal offence.

Read the Sky News article Here

7th June 2016

Methadone alternative to be made available to drug addicts

An alternative to methadone for treating people with heroin and other opiate drug addictions is to be made widely available after the Department of Health agreed to provide the funding. However, the introduction of Suboxone for people with opioid dependence is being delayed by the need for specific legislation allowing the drug to be given on the same basis as methadone.

Read the Irish Times article Here

26th May 2016

‘I was embarrassed when people called him a junkie’- Dublin star Philly McMahon opens up about his brother’s battle with addiction

Dublin footballer Philly McMahon has opened about his older brother’s struggle with addiction and said Ireland’s attitude towards addicts needs to change to help those in need. The GAA star (28) lost his older brother John in 2012 after a long battle with addiction and said his death changed him as a person and altered his attitude towards addicts.

Read The Independent article Here

20th May 2016

Find out the damage alcohol is doing to your body

It’s a well known fact that Ireland’s alcohol intake is among the highest in Europe. And it shows no signs of slowing down with figures from Alcohol Action Ireland showing that, in 2014, the average Irish person aged 15 and over drank 11 litres of pure alcohol, an increase from 10.6 litres in 2013. Campaigners have called for new guidelines more in keeping with the latest recommendations in Britain which state there is no safe level of alcohol consumption, and that women should avoid drinking any alcohol in pregnancy. 

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

19th May 2016

Rural Ireland engulfed in hidden epidemic of psychoactive drugs

Over the past 18 months, counsellors at drug treatment centres in Cavan and Monaghan, and some midland towns, have reported increasing alarm by the number of young men and women, some aged just 15 years, presenting with “chaotic addiction” to ‘New Psychoactive Substances’ (NPS) – chemically produced narcotics that have a profound effect on the brain. Synthetic cannabis, sold as ‘K2 Spice’, ‘Blueberry Mix’ and ‘Clockwork Orange,’ among others, is a major concern.

Read The Independent article Here

18th May 2016

Drugs/alcohol task force seeks to identify concerns

The community is invited to engage in a number of public consultation sessions which will help to inform and shape Tallaght’s drug and alcohol strategy for the next four years. Staged by the Tallaght Drugs and Alcohol Task Force (TDATF), the consultations will be very general in format, with service users, service providers, project workers, youth groups and members of the general public invited to raise their main concerns around drug and alcohol use in the area.

Read The Echo article Here

13th May 2016

The new government has committed to bringing in drug injection rooms

This is good news as there was a fear that the loss of Aodhán Ó Riordáin might spell a different approach by the new Government. It is important that injecting rooms are realised and sooner rather than later. Drug users need safer facilities and the streets of the city will benefit immeasurably from these centres.

Read The article Here

10th May 2016

Irish in Scotland at higher risk of alcohol-link disease

Irish people living in Scotland are more than twice as likely to end up in hospital or die from alcohol-related diseases as white Scottish people, research has found. The risk for women from a mixed ethnic background is almost 100 times that of white Scots, scientists concluded. People with Chinese or Pakistani roots had the lowest risks of alcohol- related illness or death.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

6th May 2016

Dublin’s drug laneways: One year on, the alleys are still littered with needles

This article in looks at the continued problems of drug using paraphernalia litter on our streets. This does not seem to be improving and the need for supervised injecting rooms as well as safe disposal bins for needles and syringes is greater than ever.

Read The article Here

5th May 2016

E-cigarettes benefit smokers’ health: report

The British Royal College of Physicians report says e-cigarettes should be widely promoted as a substitute to smoking. The authors conclude that smokers can be reassured and encouraged to use the devices. Experts made a series of conclusions about the devices including E-cigarettes are not a “gateway to smoking”; use of e-cigarettes are used mostly by those who are already using, or have used, tobacco. There is no evidence that e-cigarettes result in normalisation of smoking. The devices are beneficial in encouraging smokers to quit.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

29th April 2016

Dr McGovern was invited to debate the benefits of e-cigarettes on Today FMs Last Word with Matt Cooper

There is much controversy around the use of e-cigarettes in helping smokers to quit tobacco despite two recent reports in support of them from Public Health England and The UK Royal College of Physicians. Dr McGovern is strongly supportive of e-cigarettes and has treated many smokers who are now tobacco free as a result of vaping.

Listen to the Last Word interview Here

27th April 2016

‘Major concern’ as two men die of suspected overdoses within days of each other

It has emerged  that two men died of suspected drug overdoses within days of each other in the past week, just a few dozen metres away from each other in Dublin city centre. The body of a 42-year-old man was found in a common area in an apartment complex on Foley Street, just off Amiens Street in Dublin 1.

Read The article Here

26th April 2016

Rise in detection of drink driving

Garda traffic chiefs told the Policing Authority yesterday the rise in detections of drink driving was due to a targeted approach to breathtesting. In what was the Policing Authority’s inaugural public meeting with senior gardaí, led by commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan, it also emerged there was a 70% satisfaction rate among the public in the gardaí. The commissioner, flanked by six of her management team, dealt with questions on the 2016 Garda Policing Plan relating to community policing.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

20th April 2016

Over-35s ‘Hit Weekly Alcohol Limit In A Night’

Older Britons often drink as much as younger adults on nights out, a study suggests – and regularly have 14 units in one session. Middle-aged drinkers are putting their health at risk by regularly reaching the recommended weekly alcohol limit on a single night out, according to new research.

Read the Sky News article Here

19th April 2016

‘Major concern’ as two men die of suspected overdoses within days of each other

Two men died of suspected drug overdoses within days of each other in the past week, just a few dozen metres away from each other in Dublin city centre. The body of a 42-year-old man was found in a common area in an apartment complex on Foley Street, just off Amiens Street in Dublin 1. It’s understood his body had lain undiscovered for several days before the alarm was raised. A man aged 33 was also found dead in the toilets of nearby Connolly Station yesterday, with a syringe found nearby.

Read The article Here

18th April 2016

Drug syringe bins may be installed across Dublin

Safe disposal of drug paraphernalia is an essential harm reduction measure that has worked very well in many cities around the world. Detractors cite problems such as adopting a permissive attitude to injecting drug use and ‘sending out the wrong message’ to young people. The reality is that drug use is occurring on out streets and it is imperative we make it safe for citizens as well as drug users. Thankfully the Irish Government agrees.

Read the Irish Times article Here

13th April 2016

Tanya Sweeney: Shopping addiction is real – take it from someone who knows

Interesting and irreverent article about shopping addiction, something that many people probably don’t accept. In actual fact compulsive shopping or oniomania is a well described entity in the literature.

Read the Irish Times article Here

11th April 2016

Opinion: Codeine addiction has taken over my life – and yet I don’t feel that I can stop

I often wonder how I got here. I was a happy child, probably always a little anxious but nothing out of the ordinary. But 10 years ago and I woke up and felt misery. I can’t count the number of doctors, mental health workers, nurses I spoke to. Or the amount of times someone had to bring me to the Emergency

Read the article Here

9th April 2016

Rapid detoxification associated with withdrawal symptoms and risk of relapse

“I had a 14 day detox that sent me into horrible withdrawal but I still went back to heroin” Paul started snorting heroin when he was 18. He had been involved with drugs before, and had grown up in a family where stealing was commonplace. “I come from a dysfunctional family – where thieving was the norm,” says Paul.

Read the article Here

7th April 2016

College students tell stories of gambling their rent money and losing at Cheltenham

Gambling apps have created a gambling addiction epidemic among third-level students, the Union of Students in Ireland National Congress heard this morning. Officers from student unions across the country were in consensus that the growing popularity of gambling apps have created a problem for students.

Read the article Here

4th April 2016

Illicit trade in prescription drugs a growing problem for Dublin’s north inner city

Prescription drugs have changed the inner-city Dublin drugs scene in the past two years. Dealing in these semi-legal products is low risk and takes place in full public view, yet their effects on addicts are no less severe than other drugs with more fearsome reputations.

Read the Irish Times article Here

31st March 2016

Boarding school pupil became addicted to drugs as teenager

A 28-year-old man who became a drug addict while in boarding school will commit more crimes when he is released from prison unless he gets treatment, his mother has said. The man, who is currently serving a five-month prison sentence, first took drugs at boarding school at the age of 14. His mother, who gave her name on Radio 1’s Liveline as Mary, said drugs changed her son from a “happy, contented, good humoured athletic boy” to a “sullen, aggressive and everything-negative child”.

Read the Irish Times article Here

30th March 2016

Taking the initiative in facing up to alcohol addiction

Dependence on alcohol and other drugs is so prevalent in Ireland that it is often ignored – but the time has come to start a conversation about it, say doctors.  Two people die every week in Ireland from overuse of alcohol. Alcohol addiction is so prevalent in Irish society that many experts say we don’t even notice it any more. In fact, it is often brushed off as a lifestyle choice.

Read the Irish Times article Here

29th March 2016

Una Mullally: It’s ludicrous to hand over drug quality control to criminal gangs

The highest level in Europe of so-called ‘legal high’ drug use was found among young Irish people. Teenagers and young adults are more vulnerable to risky and reckless behaviour because of changes in the prefrontal cortexes of their brains. These neurological changes increase the possibility of risk-taking between childhood and adolescence, and then gradually decrease into adulthood.

Read the Irish Times article Here

28th March 2016

Drugs bought online ‘could be superior’ to street deals

Online drug dealing has the capacity to reduce harm for users due to the higher quality of substances sold and less violence associated with criminal activity, an EU report has found. The study, by the Lisbon-based European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, examined the rise of online drug markets, their impact on society, gangland crime and law enforcement.

Read the Irish Times article Here

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