25th June 2024

Activists hold breath over gambling legislation amid ‘barrage’ of lobbying

“It would have had a huge impact on my life, because in some ways, I was allowed to continue gambling with millions of turnover in my account,” says Tony O’Reilly on long-promised gambling legislation. “Even from a money laundering point of view, lodging tens of thousands every week was never flagged and if that had been flagged a bit earlier, it might not have got as serious as it did,” he adds.

Read the Irish Times article Here

18th June 2024

Meeting with Oireachtas Joint Committee on Drugs Use

The Chair of the Citizens’ Assembly on Drugs Use, Paul Reid, has told the inaugural meeting of the Oireachtas Committee on Drugs Use that the national approach to drugs use needs to change and that the Assembly’s 36 recommendations to reduce the harm caused by illicit drugs use sets out a comprehensive way forward.

Read the citizens article here

16th June 2024

HSE Risk Communication – Monitoring Emerging Overdose Situation

The HSE is issuing a risk communication to people who use drugs following a cluster of overdoses in Dublin and the Mid-West. Analysis by the Emerging Trends Laboratory at the HSE National Drug Treatment Centre has confirmed nitazene in yellow, round counterfeit benzodiazepine tablets associated with these overdoses. The HSE advises that there is EXTRA RISK at this time and strongly recommends people not to take these tablets.

Read the Drugs,ie article Here

23rd May 2024

115 sacked from Defence Forces for illegal drug use in last 10 years

A total of 115 personnel have been sacked by the Defence Forces in the past 10 years after testing positive for illegal drugs, with the highest number of these dismissals occurring last year. There were 11,381 random drug tests carried out on soldiers, sailors, and air crews during that timeframe, with a drop in the rate of testing during the covid years of 2020 (788 tests) and 2021 (388 tests).

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

21st May 2024

Ministers for Health announce government approval to raise the age of sale of tobacco to 21

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly and the Minister for Public Health, Wellbeing and the National Drugs Strategy Colm Burke have announced that the Cabinet has approved a proposal for legislation that will increase the age of sale of tobacco to 21. Ireland will be the first country in the EU to introduce this measure, continuing our tradition of leadership in tackling smoking rates which began with the ban on indoor smoking in 2004.

Read the article Here

29th April 2024

How can we tackle the issue of alcohol abuse in Ireland?

68 is the number of people who have died on Irish roads this year, which is an increase of a third compared with the same period last year. While speed remains the primary factor in these incidents, alcohol, and drug consumption are also major contributors to the kind of numbers we are now seeing. Joining Anton to discuss the issue is Dr. Chris Luke Columnist with the Irish Medical Times and Retired consultant in emergency medicine & Dr. Sheila Gilheany, CEO of Alcohol Action Ireland.

Listen to the Newstalk article Here

26th April 2024

Psychosis team in Cork sees significant decrease in number of people using drugs and alcohol

A health team in Cork is seeing a huge impact in the progress experienced by patients with addiction issues due to a collaboration between services with different areas of expertise. There have long been calls for greater integration between services within the health system, and one addiction expert said the results in Cork show the real-life impact this approach can have.

Read the article Here

23rd April 2024

Minister for Health secures government approval to further expand the role of pharmacists

The Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has received government approval to proceed with the drafting of a further amendment to the Health (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2024. This amendment will lay the groundwork for the introduction of pharmacist prescribing. This amendment will make provision in primary legislation for the further expansion of the role of pharmacists.

Read the publication Here


15th April 2024

More than €2m spent so far on delayed gambling authority

More than €2m has been spent so far on the Gambling Regulatory Authority of Ireland, even though the body has yet to get up and running due to delays in legislation. Figures from the Department of Justice released to Saturday with Colm O’ Mongáin, show that €161,000 was spent in 2022 to prepare for the establishment of the authority, which includes some staffing costs….

Read the article Here

11th April 2024

Women earning more than €35k annually are most at risk for babies having fetal alcohol spectrum disorder

Women earning more than €35,000 annually are most at risk for babies having fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, a leading public health consultant has warned. Dr Mary O’Mahony, HSE Cork & Kerry, urged people to blame alcohol and not women, saying 40% of pregnancies are unplanned with mothers left feeling guilt over harm inadvertently caused by alcohol.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

29th March 2024

Legal challenge must be taken to decide if laws designed to protect children are being egregiously flouted with zero alcohol products

Ireland’s world-leading law is clear – commercial communication that directly or indirectly promotes alcohol using any trade description, i.e. trademark or emblem, is prohibited. The alcohol industry must be challenged over its continued and egregious flouting of the law in relation to the marketing of zero alcohol products, using the logo and attributes of the master brand, Alcohol Action Ireland said today.

Read the Alcohol Ireland article Here

15th March 2024

Minister for Public Health, Wellbeing and the National Drugs Strategy announces new chairperson of North Inner City Drugs and Alcohol Task Force

The Minister for Public Health, Wellbeing and the National Drugs Strategy, Hildegarde Naughton, has today announced the appointment of Dr Austin O’Carroll as the independent chairperson of the North Inner City Drugs and Alcohol Task Force. This follows the decision of the Minister to re-constitute the task force in September 2023, representing a new momentum in addressing the problem of drug use in this disadvantaged area. 

Rad the press release Here

19th February 2024

Merchants Quay says it will take time for drug users to ‘trust’ new supervised injection centre

The CEO of Merchants Quay Ireland says it will take time for those who are injecting drugs to “gain trust” with the new medically supervised injection centre. Eddie Mullins was speaking to the Dublin City Joint Policing Committee about the injection centre, which is set to open in September for an initial period of 18 months. 

Read the article Here

15th February 2024

Open letter: an urgent call for this government to fully assess the implications of increased alcohol availability

As health, social and community organisations and advocates (74), we are coming together to voice our strong opposition to proposed measures in the Sale of Alcohol bill that will dramatically increase the number of venues serving alcohol, as well as significantly extending the opening hours of pubs, bars and nightclubs. Ireland has just begun to make tentative progress towards the goal of reducing alcohol consumption with drinking levels falling slowly on a population level thanks to the measures of the Public Health (Alcohol) Act, 2018 (PHAA). 

Read Alcohol Ireland letter Here

6th February 2024

HSE issues alert about potent synthetic opioid being sold as heroin in Dublin and Cork

The HSE has issued a red alert this bank holiday weekend amid “ongoing concern” about a potent synthetic opioid being sold on the streets of Dublin and Cork as heroin. Ireland says that two types of nitazenes are being found on the market. “Nitazenes can come in a variety of different coloured powders. Treat all powders with extreme caution at this time. The HSE continues to monitor the market. Nitazene type drugs have also been found in illicit tablets in the UK.”

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

23rd January 2024

Each fatal drug overdose is a preventable death

Tony Duffin, CEO of Ana Liffey Drug Project, reflects on a fatal overdose and the need to do more to prevent such deaths. Overdoses continue to rise. Fatal overdoses continue to be a major health concern in Ireland. The most recent national statistics, from 2020, reveal a rise in poisonings — highlighting the increasing use of cocaine, and the risks associated with combining different drugs. 2023 saw the emergence of Nitazenes, potent synthetic opioids, on the illicit drugs market in Ireland.

Read the article Here

15th January 2024

Detoxing from G is ‘100 times worse than alcohol withdrawal’, expert warns

Many people who take drugs to enhance their sexual experiences are not aware of how addictive certain substances are, an expert has warned. Chemsex has become more common in Ireland in recent years. It involves the use of drugs such as G, crystal methamphetamine, cocaine, ketamine and mephedrone to enhance and prolong sexual activity.

Read The article Here

9th January 2024

Minister Naughton reaffirms commitment to lifesaving Naloxone programme

The Minister for Public Health, Wellbeing and the National Drugs Strategy Hildegarde Naughton has reaffirmed her commitment to expanding naloxone services as she highlighted the programme’s progress in 2023. Naloxone is a prescription-only medication that is used as an antidote to temporarily reverse the effects of opioid drugs like heroin, morphine, methadone and synthetic opioids if someone overdoses.

Read the publication Here

2nd January 2024

Drugs at centre of recent Dublin overdose cluster purchased ‘across one strip of the city’

Drugs that caused a cluster of heroin overdoses in Dublin were purchased “across one strip” of Dublin City centre, according to the HSE. It’s also thought that a more recent overdose cluster in Cork is “linked with the Dublin market”. The HSE’s emerging drug trend project manager added that lessons have been learned from the response to recent clusters of heroin overdoses in Dublin and Cork.

Read the article Here

20th December 2023

Drug users being trained to prevent overdoses

Active drug users are being trained by the HSE to prevent and treat overdoses after highly potent synthetic opioids were found in Ireland. The new Circle Peer to Peer programme is to begin for a six-month pilot phase in 16 locations from January.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

30th November 2023

Minister for Health commences broadcast watershed for alcohol advertisements

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has commenced section 19 of the Public Health (Alcohol) Act 2018 which introduces a restriction on the times which alcohol advertisements can be shown on radio and television. Under Section 19, there can be no advertisement for an alcohol product on television from 3am – 9 pm and on radio on a weekday from 3pm – 10am the following morning.

Read the article Here


28th November 2023

The Joint Committee on Justice publishes its report on pre-legislative scrutiny of the General Scheme of the Sale of Alcohol Bill 2022

The consolidation and updating of licensing laws was contained within the Programme for Government and was also a central recommendation contained within the ‘Report of the Night-Time Economy Taskforce’. 

Read the publication Here

21st November 2023

Ban on TV and radio ads for alcohol before 9pm to come into effect in January 2025

A new watershed on alcohol adverts that will see them banned during the day will be brought in in January 2025, the Department of Health has confirmed. The latest enactment of provisions of the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill will bring strict advertising rules on TV and radio that will change the time adverts for beers, wines, and spirits could be shown.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

20th November 2023

 People Before Profit Bill to legalise personal use of cannabis seen as ‘test for Government’

A bill that proposes to legalise the personal use of cannabis is set to progress to second stage in the Dáil in January next year. Introduced by People Before Profit TD Gino Kenny, the Bill passed first stage in the Dáil unopposed in November 2022. Speaking to The Journal, the Dublin Mid-West TD said People Before Profit plans to use its private members’ time in the Dáil on January 31 to progress the Bill to second stage. 

Read The article Here

17th November 2023

A potent synthetic opioid was found in the heroin that caused overdoses, but what are nitazenes? 

Traces of a powerful synthetic opioid have been detected in heroin samples related to overdoses in Dublin city in recent days. Fifty-seven people have overdosed in the city centre area since last Thursday, the HSE confirmed yesterday. No deaths have been reported.

Read the article Here

13th November 2023

 Citizens’ Assembly votes for health-led approach to drug use

The Citizens’ Assembly has voted in favour of recommendations which will impact those found in possession of drugs in Ireland. The Assembly has voted for a health-led approach in this regard. It is recommending that those found in possession are diverted to a health-led system, rather than the criminal justice system. It will be up to the Oireachtas to work out the legal complexities around this and all other recommendations voted on by the Assembly.

Read the RTE.IE article Here

16th October 2023

State policies targeting alcohol use and obesity could reduce liver disease numbers

State policies targeting alcohol use and obesity could reduce the number of people in Europe who develop chronic liver disease or liver cancer by up to 7% before 2030, new international research shows. The impact of minimum unit pricing (MUP) on alcohol at various rates, a sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) tax, and a tax based on alcohol volume was modelled by scientists and health experts working in 10 sites across Europe.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

13th October 2023

Ministers for Health announce budget for the delivery of health services in 2024

The Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly, Minister for Public Health, Wellbeing and the National Drugs Strategy, Hildegarde Naughton, and Minister for Mental Health and Older People, Mary Butler, have today announced a €22.5 billion health budget that will facilitate the continued delivery and expansion of quality, affordable healthcare services.

Read the publication Here

9th October 2023

What exactly happens to your body when you take cocaine?

The three most dangerous ‘white powders’ in human history are probably sugar, salt and cocaine hydrochloride, the bitter white crystal that European chemists finally managed to extract – on an industrial level in the 1860s – from the leaf of the South American shrub, Erythroxylum Coca.

Read The article Here

2nd October 2023

Minister Naughton announces the reconstitution of the North Inner-City Drug and Alcohol Task Force

Minister of State for Public Health, Wellbeing and the National Drugs Strategy, Hildegarde Naughton, has today announced the reconstitution of the North Inner-City Drug and Alcohol Task Force. The task force had ceased to function in late 2021, following an impasse in the appointment of an independent chairperson. 

Read the publication Here

25th September 2023

Methadone clinics and injection centres ‘needed to counter fentanyl threat’

Ireland needs to prepare for the arrival of fentanyl which will be much harder to deal with than heroin, one of the country’s leading drug addiction experts has said. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is up to 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine.

Read the Irish Times article Here

19th September 2023

Portugal’s pragmatic policy could show Ireland a path to control addiction

Sit down with any official involved in Portugal’s drugs policy and the spectre of the country’s heroin crisis of the 1990s is present immediately. A collective trauma, it is constantly referenced – spoken of like a warning from history. It is now more than 20 years since the Portuguese Government, dealing with an opiod crisis in its major cities, decided that a radical new approach to addiction was needed. 

Read The Journal article Here

4th September 2023

HSE prepares for arrival of killer synthetic drugs following Taliban opium crop crackdown

The HSE is ramping up preparations and testing services in the event that possible shortages of heroin in Dublin could be filled by more powerful synthetic versions of the drug. A crackdown by the extremist Taliban regime in Afghanistan on the opium crop, from which heroin is made, is being blamed in the UK for a gap in the market, which drug agencies say is being filled by synthetic opiates.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

1st September 2023

Life-saving Nalox-home intervention announced to mark international overdose awareness day 2023

Marking International Overdose Awareness Day 2023 on Thursday, 31st August, the HSE in collaboration with St James’s Hospital is introducing Nalox-Home: a new pilot initiative designed to save lives and promote harm reduction among people who use drugs.

What is Nalox-Home?

Read the article Here

28th August 2023

Senior Garda says policing injection centre will be ‘challenging’

A senior Garda has said the policing of the country’s first legal drug injecting facility is “going to be challenging”. Assistant Commissioner Justin Kelly, head of Organised and Serious Crime, said a policing plan has been drawn up, which, he said, has been informed by field trips to Switzerland and France, where similar centres are in operation.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

22nd August 2023

 Irish Prison Service launches life-saving initiative to combat opioid overdoses among prisoners

The Irish Prison Service is taking proactive steps to address the significant issue of addiction among prisoners by launching an innovative new initiative aimed at combating opioid overdoses. With a staggering 70% of individuals committed to prison having addiction issues, urgent action is needed to prevent tragic outcomes and protect those in custody during their reintegration into society.

Read the Irish Prison Service article Here

14th August 2023

‘The baggies don’t have a little health warning’: Doctor warns coke strokes are on the rise

Cases of cocaine-induced strokes are on the rise as the prevalence of the drug continues to increase, the clinical lead of the Irish National Audit of Stroke has warned. Dr Joe Harbison, a stroke doctor at St James’ Hospital Dublin and associate professor at Trinity College, told The Journal that the public is largely unaware of how much drug usage can increase the risk of a stroke. Cocaine can cause sudden surges in blood pressure leading to a stroke in hours or even minutes, he said.

Read the article Here

9th August 2023

No brainer: Alcohol’s harmful impact on brain health — from cradle to grave

Two new reports outline the impacts of both alcohol and mental health across Ireland. Missing from the discussion is the clear links between alcohol and brain health at all ages, from very early days in the womb right up to old age, writes Catherine Conlon

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

4th August 2023

Minister Naughton announces additional funding for Family Support under the national drugs strategy

Minister for Public Health, Wellbeing and the National Drugs Strategy, Hildegarde Naughton, has announced the allocation of over €240,000 to the Health Service Executive (HSE) to fund family support measures under the national drugs strategy, Reducing Harm, Supporting Recovery. This allocation is in addition to the €4 million secured in Budget 2023 to expand community and residential addiction services.

Read the publication Here

1st August 2023

Invest in frontline to help tackle street violence

While it provides no comfort to recent victims of assault, violence on our streets is not a new problem. Nor is it a problem only for Dublin’s north east inner city — or just Dublin. It affects cities and towns across the country and includes a spate of vicious assaults recently in Cork city and Galway city, resulting in fatalities in some cases.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

24th July 2023

Why the rising price of a pint is better for our health

The cost of a pint of Guinness is to rise by 4 cents from August 14. This is the second time this year Diageo has increased draught beer prices. The increase will apply across draught brands including Guinness, Carlsberg, Smithwicks, Harp, Rockshore and Hop House 13.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

21st July 2023

Minister Butler welcomes appointment of Dr Amanda Burke as first ever Clinical Lead for Youth Mental Health

Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People, Mary Butler has welcomed the appointment of Dr Amanda Burke as Ireland’s first ever Clinical Lead for Youth Mental Health. Speaking at a Sharing the Vision youth mental health transitions consultation event in Dublin today, Minister Butler, said:
“Youth mental health remains one of the core mental health priorities for me, and I am happy to see the progress that is being made in terms of implementing the recommendations arising from the Maskey report…….

Read the article Here

17th July 2023

Europe is home to the world’s heaviest drinkers. Which country drinks the most alcohol?

If you feel that Europeans drink a lot, your hunch is correct: people across the continent consume more alcohol than in any other part of the world. Each year in Europe, every person aged 15 and over consumes, on average, 9.5 litres of pure alcohol, which is equivalent to around 190 litres of beer, 80 litres of wine or 24 litres of spirits. That’s according to the 2021 European health report by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Read the article Here


10th July 2023

Drug taskforces turning addicts away amid a 400% increase in crack cocaine use

Frontline community drug taskforces are struggling to attract employees to deal with the “crack cocaine crisis” impacting deprived communities. A lack of job security and pensions, along with better pay and conditions on offer with the HSE, means Local Drug and Alcohol Task Forces (LDATFs) are unable to fill vital positions.

Read the Irish Times article Here

19th June 2023

Call for provision of naloxone to help opioid users

A drug to treat people who have overdosed on opioids has been administered almost 90 times since the start of this year. The Health Service Executive says that there have been 89 administrations of naloxone reported to the executive since the start of this year across the country. The drug is used to rapidly reverse the effects of an overdose of opioid drugs including heroin and methadone.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

16th June 2023

12% of Irish doctors have experimented with cocaine

An Irish Medical Times survey of Irish doctors has found that 12 per cent of respondents have experimented with cocaine. The survey also revealed that 37 per cent of doctors have used cannabis, while a majority of 54 per cent support the decriminalisation of small quantities of the drug for personal use.

Read the Irish Medical Times article article Here

9th June 2023

The ‘hidden victims’ of the hidden addiction: Problem gambling and its impact on family members

A former school principal, who stole nearly €100,000 to fuel a “severe” gambling addiction, had a 20-month sentence suspended by a judge last week. During the sentencing, judge Tom O’Donnell said that gambling addictions destroy lives and have a “catastrophic impact” on the lives of those around the person with the gambling problem.

Read The article Here

7th June 2023

Nearly 750 patients now receiving suboxone

The number of patients being administered buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) reached 748 at the end of April, according to figures provided to this newspaper. This is a continuation of an upward trend that has been evident since 2017.

At the end of May 2022, there were 656 patients in receipt of Suboxone, according to figures previously reported by the Medical Independent.

Read the Medical Independent article Here

30th May 2023

Combined drug and mental health teams promised

Long-awaited services for people with dual diagnosis — with both mental health and drug issues — have been announced, but questions remain on implementation

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

26th May 2023

Irish Examiner view: care rather than criminalisation

Ireland’s historical stance on drug abuse and addiction has generally mirrored that of the rest of the western world. That means we have criminalised and penalised a section of our community which has fallen into the grip of drugs, instead of trying to enlighten, embrace, and decriminalise thousands of victims.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

22nd May 2023

Ministers for Health bring into law the world’s first comprehensive health labelling of alcohol products

The Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has signed into law the Public Health (Alcohol) (Labelling) Regulations 2023 and the remaining provisions of Section 12 of the Public Health (Alcohol) Act. Section 12 and the Labelling Regulations together introduce comprehensive health labelling of alcohol products sold in Ireland and provide that similar health information will be available for customers in licensed premises. 

Read press release Here

9th May 2023

Drugs ‘raining down in prison yards’ with three hospitalised after taking fake benzos

Drugs “are raining down” in prison yards with three people hospitalised this week after taking fake benzodiazepines thrown over the prison wall. The “homemade” anti-anxiety pills were 10 times more potent than the legal drug according to Irish Prison Service (IPS) medical staff.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

3rd May 2023

Australia bans recreational vaping in e-cigarette crackdown

Australia has banned recreational vaping and tightened other aspects of e-cigarette laws in the biggest crackdown on the tobacco industry in more than a decade to try to stop an alarming rise in teenage vaping. Unfortunately, this is likely to increase the barriers to smokers trying to quit and will likely push e-cigarette users out to an unregulated market where the quality of vaping devices will, at best, be questionable.

Read the article Here

2nd May 2023

Prescriptions for medicines containing codeine up 22% since 2012

The number of prescriptions issued for medicines containing codeine has increased by more than 22% since 2012. The latest figures were released in a reply to a parliamentary question from Fine Gael’s health spokesperson Colm Burke. Over one million prescriptions for the pain-relieving codeine drug were issued through public medicine schemes last year. This is an increase of more than 17% since 2018 alone.

Read the article Here

24th April 2023

Drug use needs to be handled with empathy and evidence

I was in Lisbon recently where I had arranged a series of meetings with people who are experts on responding to drug use. The people I met with are well-placed to speak on the subject; not least of all because they have lived and worked in a jurisdiction where decriminalisation of drugs is well established; and where drug consumption rooms have recently been implemented.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

18th April 2023

Inside Ireland’s widespread reliance on codeine medicines

Ireland has a “significant and widespread reliance on codeine containing medicines” and will consider moving from over-the-counter sales to prescription-only, according to internal Department of Health documents. Irish people spend substantially more than consumers in 30 other countries on well-known codeine containing medicines such as Solpadeine and Nurofen Plus available to buy over-the-counter in pharmacies.

Read the article Here

5th April 2023

How drug debts are used to control Irish communities: ‘Men are forced to go to jail on someone’s behalf

In recent years, gardaí targeting drug-dealing gangs have noticed a new trend when searching the homes of dealers. Aside from the usual material they expect to find – drugs, weapons, designer clothes, etc – officers have been coming across bundles of pristine notes, neatly stacked and still in the branded bank or credit union wrapping.

Read the Irish Times article Here

31st March 2023

Annual alcohol consumption data 2022

Provisional data obtained from Revenue indicates that while alcohol consumption in 2022 has increased compared to 2021 which was expected given the re-opening of hospitality, it has not returned to pre-pandemic levels. This may be an early indicator of impact from the introduction of Minimum Unit Pricing of alcohol. However, more detail is needed on other areas such as patterns of alcohol use and impacts on health.

Read the Alcohol Action Ireland article Here

22nd March 2023

Coroners call for prescription medication nicknamed ‘coffin tablets’ to be reclassified as controlled drug’

Coroners want a prescription drug licensed here classified as a controlled drug, after toxicology reports indicated an increase in poisoning deaths linked to its toxicity. The call by the Coroners Society of Ireland (CSI) for the re-classification of pregabalin is aimed at increasing awareness among GPs and the public about the potential side-effects of long-term use, and the particular risk for users with current, or past, substance-related disorders, Dr Eleanor Fitzgerald, president of the CSI, told The Irish Times.

Read the Irish Times article Here

15th March 2023

Taoiseach appoints Paul Reid as chairperson of the Citizens’ Assembly on drugs use

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar T.D. today confirmed that he has appointed Mr. Paul Reid as the independent Chairperson of the Citizens’ Assembly on Drugs Use. Announcing the appointment, the Taoiseach said: “I am delighted that Paul Reid has agreed to chair the Citizens’ Assembly on Drugs Use. Paul has vast leadership experience and a successful track record as CEO of the Health Services Executive and Fingal County Council. I am confident he will be an excellent choice as Chairperson of the Citizens’ Assembly on Drugs Use.”

Read the Press release Here

9th March 2023

Minister for Justice Simon Harris says he ‘hasn’t heard’ of drug use in Leinster House

Several TDs and Senators were quizzed on matters of drug policy and their own personal relationships with drug use during a canvassing event in Dublin city this morning.  Minister for Justice Simon Harris and Minister of State for Drugs Hildegarde Naughten faced questions on Ireland’s drug laws ahead of the launching of a Citizens’ Assembly on Drugs, brought to Cabinet by Naughten, and expected to be underway by April. 

Read the article Here

6th March 2023

Where is the urgency to implement alcohol ad broadcast watershed to protect children?

Information provided to Alcohol Action Ireland (AAI) under the Freedom of Information shows that consultations with the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland in relation to curbing alcohol ads to children took place during 2021 and early 2022, as required under the provisions of the Public Health Alcohol Act (PHAA). 

Read the Alcohol Action Ireland article Here

27th February 2023

How cocaine became a front in sports’ war on drugs

Howard Marks wrote a typically self-serving introduction to one of the best books about cocaine. No substance on earth has been as glamorised and demonised by society over the last century more than the harvested leaf of the South American coca bush, but Marks had an alternative take.

Read the Irish Times article Here

21st February 2023

Citizens’ Assembly on drugs could make way for radical shake-up

The Government decision to hold a Citizens’ Assembly on drug use clears the way for possibly the most radical shake-up of Ireland’s drug laws in the history of the State. And it’s all going to happen very quickly. Minister of State Hildegarde Naughton, who brought the proposal to Cabinet last Tuesday, said the Assembly should be up-and-running by April and will deliver its recommendations for legislative changes before the end of the year.

Read the article Here

8th February 2023

We as legislators must be brave and make difficult decisions regarding drug laws

Since the Drugs Act of 1977, we have been waging a war on drugs in Ireland. Unfortunately, we have failed miserably. Our approach to drugs, and how drug users interact with the criminal justice system isn’t working for anyone. Small instances of possession, waste Gardaí and court time. But more importantly, it criminalises and punishes those who are suffering from drug addiction.

Read The article Here

3rd February 2023

Tánaiste signals support for decriminalising drugs

Tánaiste Micheál Martin has signalled support for a decriminalisation of drugs, saying he backs calls from his own TDs for a health-led approach. Two Fianna Fáil TDs, including the chair of the Oireachtas justice committee, said the war on drugs is not working, and there must be a legalisation of drugs in this country.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

30th January 2023

 A child’s right to a childhood free from alcohol harm

As Ireland is examined before the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child this week, Alcohol Action Ireland (AAI) is calling on government to commit to the vison that children have a childhood free from alcohol harm by implementing laws designed to protect them. It would be remiss not to mention the damning report into Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) published this week, and we join with the Children’s Rights Alliance in calling for root and branch reform, starting at the top with the clinical governance of the service. 

Read the Alcohol Action Ireland article Here

27th January 2023

Reasons sought for non-testing of drivers for alcohol in fatal crashes

Specific reasons why dozens of drivers are not tested for alcohol following fatal road crashes must be provided to ensure transparency, the road safety group Parc has said. Information pursued by the organisation showed that from 2016 to 2021, 174 drivers were injured in fatal crashes and brought to hospital but not tested for alcohol, as is required by law. Separately, 77 drivers were recorded as being uninjured in fatal crashes and not tested at the scene.

Read the Irish Times article Here

18th January 2023

IRFU opt against Aviva alcohol ban for Six Nations

The IRFU has opted against imposing restrictions on supporters buying alcohol during games ahead of this year’s Six Nations after a survey found that almost seven in 10 supporters would oppose the measure. The survey found that 68% of supporters would not support a ban of alcohol being brought into the stadium during the match.

Read the RTE.IE news article Here

17th January 2023

Families pressured to remortgage homes over drug debts, says senior garda

Families are being pressured to remortgage their homes to pay off alleged drug debts, with attempted extortion demands by organised crime gangs sometimes running into hundreds of thousands of euro, a Garda inspector has said. Garda Inspector John Moroney said drug-related intimidation, where criminals pressure people to pay off often “inflated or fabricated” drug debts, was a “significant issue”.

Read the Irish Times article Here

16th January 2023

Alcohol labelling is about letting consumers know the truth

Ireland’s plans for “alarmist health warnings on wine” have brought howls of protest from those with vested interest who prefer to have marketing myths on the labels of their products. Italy’s largest farmer’s association, Coldiretti, has branded the move a “direct attack” against the country, concerned that the move would have an impact on the country’s €14bn wine industry that employs 1.3m people.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

9th January 2023

Methadone should be prescribed by nurses to cut long wait times, says addiction expert

A “waiting list crisis” among heroin users seeking methadone in rural areas underlines the need for nurses to be allowed to prescribe the drug, a leading addiction expert has said. Dr Peter Kelly, assistant professor in mental health nursing at Trinity College Dublin, described as “extremely frustrating” the ongoing resistance within the Department of Health to nurses prescribing methadone, despite 14 years of campaigning and widespread use of the practice across other EU states and the UK.

Read the Irish Times article Here

26th December 2022

Alcohol Action Ireland. Support for children witnessing abuse at Christmas needed

With Gardai highlighting the rise in domestic abuse calls ahead of Christmas, support for children must be made available upon their return to school.  Since 2020, Alcohol Action Ireland has been calling for the implementation of Operation Encompass to offer immediate support to children and young people experiencing/witnessing domestic violence.

Read Alcohol Action Ireland article Here

22nd December 2022

Committee recommends decriminalising, regulating drugs

An Oireachtas committee has recommended the decriminalisation and regulation of drugs for personal use, “in line with emerging international best-practice”. The Joint Committee on Justice published a report examining the issue, saying it acknowledged the harm associated with “pursuing a criminal justice-led approach to drug use and misuse”.

Read the RTE.IE article Here

6th December 2022

Why some politicians want decriminalisation of drugs

Ireland and Sweden have the most drug-related deaths among 15- to 64-year-olds in Europe, according to the European Drug report for 2022. Figures from the Health Research Board show more than 10,000 people were treated for drug use in Ireland last year – 57% of them were previously treated cases.

Read the article Here

5th December 2022

Laughing gas abuse leading to neurological damage

A neurology specialist at the Mater Hospital has warned of an increase in the number of patients suffering severe nerve damage after inhaling nitrous oxide gas. Nitrous oxide, often referred to as ‘laughing gas’, is growing in popularity as a recreational drug. Inhaling it causes a quick ‘rush’, and feelings of euphoria lasting up to 30 seconds. The gas has a number of industrial and medical uses.

Read the news article Here

29th November 2022

Nurofen Plus to become prescription only

It has been confirmed that Nurofen plus is to become prescription only and for reaction to this Pat spoke to Professor Colin O’Gara Head of Addiction Services and St John Of Gods .

Listen to the Newstalk Pat Kenny interview Here

28th November 2022

‘Game changer’ Proposal to put Nurofen Plus on prescription praised by people addicted to codeine

Sufferers of codeine dependence have hailed proposals to put Nurofen Plus on prescription only and insisted: “There is help out there and it costs nothing.” although one expert Dr Garrett McGovern warned: “This won’t fix the problem.” Codeine has killed dozens of people in Ireland in recent years and sent thousands into the grip of addiction with catastrophic health side effects.

Read The Sun article Here

25th November 2022

Government approves publication of the Gambling Regulation Bill

The Government has today approved the publication of the Gambling Regulation Bill.
Led by Minister of State for Law Reform, James Browne TD, this Bill sets out the framework for a modern, robust regulatory and licensing regime for the gambling sector. The legislation paves the way for the establishment of a gambling regulator focused on public safety and well-being covering gambling online and in person, with the powers to regulate advertising, gambling websites and apps. The Bill gives legislative underpinning for the new Gambling Regulatory Authority, which will be essential to its success.

Read the article Here

24th November 2022

Gino Kenny: It’s time to decriminalise the possession of cannabis for personal use

bring a bill to Dáil Éireann to decriminalise the possession of small amounts of cannabis for personal use. This is a moderate bill which is the start of a national conversation that Ireland needs to have about how we treat the possession of cannabis for personal use. The legislation that I will move in the Dáil this week is timely, as other countries are moving towards a model of the regulation of cannabis as opposed to treating it as a criminal justice matter. Simply put, the present laws on criminalisation do not work.

Read The article Here

23rd November 2022

Government agrees to further regulation of e-cigarettes

The Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly and the Minister for Public Health, Frank Feighan, today (22 November) received government approval to introduce additional restrictions on the sale and advertising of nicotine inhaling products such as e-cigarettes. Under the new proposals, the sale of e-cigarettes (and related nicotine inhaling products) will be prohibited from self-service vending machines, from temporary or mobile premises and at places or events for children.

Read the Department of Health statement Here

21st November 2022

Codeine Crisis Over the counter sales of certain painkillers to be banned under new plan to tackle epidemic

Painkillers that combine codeine and ibuprofen, such as Nurofen Plus, could soon only be available with a prescription, the Irish Sun can reveal. The step, being considered by the Health Products Regulatory Authority, is being taken because of fears of the consequences of addiction to the pills.

Read The Sun article Here

14th November 2022

Tougher cannabis laws impact occasional users but not frequent drug takers

European studies suggest tougher sanctions may reduce cannabis use among experimental or occasional adolescent users, but do not seem to affect frequent users, an international drugs conference in Dublin has heard. The National Drugs Forum 2022, which attracted speakers from across Europe and Ireland, was told actions of governments appear not to impact cannabis supply networks, which are thought to be more focused on frequent users.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

2nd November 2022

Direct healthcare professional communication. Nurofen Plus (codeine/ibuprofen)

Reckitt Benckiser Ireland Ltd in agreement with the European Medicines Agency and the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) would like to inform you of the following:
• Cases of severe hypokalaemia and renal tubular acidosis have been reported typically following prolonged use of codeine/ibuprofen at higher than recommended doses in patients who have become dependent on the codeine component.
• Renal tubular acidosis should be considered in patients taking Nurofen Plus with unexplained hypokalaemia and metabolic acidosis, symptoms of which include reduced levels of consciousness and generalised weakness.
• Other serious clinical harms including gastrointestinal perforations, gastrointestinal haemorrhages, severe anaemia and renal failure have been reported in association with cases of abuse and dependence for codeine/ ibuprofen combinations, some of which have been fatal.
• Patients should be informed of the risks and signs of addiction/dependence with Nurofen Plus and the potential serious clinical harms as a result.
• Patients should be advised to speak to their doctor or pharmacist if they experience signs of addiction/dependence with Nurofen Plus

Read the HPRA article here

25th October 2022

Cork GP and councillor backs development of supervised injection facility in city

Cork should “prepare the ground” for a supervised injection facility (SIF) in the city by identifying potential locations and debating the issue, a Green Party councillor has said.At a meeting of Cork City Council, Cllr Dan Boyle was backed by Fianna Fáil councillor and GP Dr John Sheehan, who said SIFs do not encourage drug use — they save lives.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

10th October 2022

Some pharmacies failed to adhere to codeine guidelines – investigation

Not one of 18 pharmacies visited as part of a Prime Time report adhered to all of the guidelines surrounding the sale of over-the-counter codeine medicines. To test how well the stringent guidelines for the sale of addictive codeine painkillers were being followed, Prime Time sent a researcher into 18 pharmacies – six pharmacies in each of three counties.

Read the article Here

12th September 2022

HSE and Gardaí may have different perspectives on drug testing, but the common aim is to reduce harm

There has been much comment and confusion after the HSE announced it was to pilot drug testing at Electric Picnic. When the Irish Examiner broke the news in August, most people seemed to welcome the development. But others expressed doubt, given the limited scope of the testing and fears that gardaí would be hanging around medical tents looking to arrest people.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

26th August 2022

Homeless prisoners: ‘It was better to be in prison than on the streets’

For many years Marie slept in tents in Dublin city centre. At night she lit a small candle inside to keep warm and during the day she shoplifted alcohol or took drugs to feed her dependency. When she was sentenced to three months in prison for petty theft, it was a relief from her life on the streets, she said.

Read The Irish Times article Here

25th August 2022

Inside codeine crisis in Ireland as demand for drug used to treat addiction almost quadruples in five years

Demand for a drug used to treat codeine addiction has almost quadrupled over the past five years. But one expert told The Irish Sun on Sunday: “The codeine ­problem is undertreated. It’s much, much bigger. I would say it’s far bigger than heroin as a problem.”

Read The Sun article Here

16th August 2022

Covid lockdowns normalised harmful drinking, medic says

Harmful levels of drinking were normalised through the Covid pandemic, charities and medical staff have said. Substance misuse charity Barod said referrals for alcohol addiction increased by 41% compared with before the pandemic. Last year, Wales recorded its highest number of alcohol deaths for 20 years and it is feared that this year, deaths will be even higher.

Read the BBC News article Here

12th August 2022

New European survey sheds light on how Irish people are using drugs

The Health Research Board (HRB) has published the Irish results from the European Web Survey on Drugs (EWSD), providing insights into the behaviour of a wide range of people who use drugs. This is the first time Ireland has participated in the EWSD, which aims to better understand the behaviour among people who used drugs in the last year, particularly occasional users and those who use drugs in nightlife settings.

Read the HRB article Here

9th August 2022

Festivalgoers told ‘medics are your mates’ as HSE pilots drug harm-reduction campaign

HSE officers are seeking to reassure people ahead of the Indie 2022 festival in Cork this weekend that “medics are your mates”. HSE drug experts are concerned by the combination of drugs some users are taking and the sheer range and strength of tablets and powders in circulation. Indie 2022 is the second of three “test sites” this year for the HSE, where drug officials are piloting a harm reduction campaign in conjunction with festival organisers.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

8th August 2022

Anti-cannabis group ‘only discussed language’ around medical programme with junior drugs minister

A group of anti-cannabis doctors say they did not raise specific concerns about the Government’s medical cannabis programme when they met with the junior drugs minister last year. The Cannabis Risk Alliance said that it only briefly raised the use of language around the Medical Cannabis Access Programme during a meeting with Minister of State Frank Feighan in January 2021.

Read The article Here


5th August 2022

E-cigarettes: Can they help smokers quit and what can we do about adolescent vaping?

Dr Des Cox, Royal College of Physicians in Ireland Policy Group on Tobacco and Consultant in Respiratory Medicine at Children’s Health Ireland in Crumlin; and Dr. Garrett McGovern, GP specialising in Addiction Medicine & Medical Director at the Priority Medical Clinic in Dundrum

Listen to the RTE Radio debate Here

2nd August 2022

Dr McGovern: Why are we waging a war on e-cigarettes when they help smokers quit?

The Joint Committee on Health published its report this week on pre-legislative scrutiny of the Public Health (Tobacco and Nicotine Inhaling Products) Bill 2019. A number of recommendations were made including a ban on all flavours added to electronic cigarettes (other than tobacco flavour).

Read the article Here

18th July 2022

Criminalising drug use is ‘disastrous’ waste of time and money, expert to tell Justice Committee

Personal use of drugs such as cannabis should be decriminalised, an expert in addiction studies will tell the Oireachtas Justice Committee today. Dr Garrett McGovern, a GP specialising in addiction medicine, believes prohibition of illegal drugs simply does not work.

Read the article Here

13th July 2022

Dr McGovern addressed the Oireachteas Joint Committee on Justice regarding decriminalisation of drugs for personal use


29th June 2022

 Young people ‘being groomed as drug runners for local drug traffickers and gang members’

Children aged under 10 are being drawn into drug activity, while younger members of the Travelling community are “being led by adults to commit crimes”, a new report before the Department of Justice states. The Department of Justice will announce the new funding on Wednesday, with just under €6.7m in funding allocations for over 50 projects around the country.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

28th June 2022

Minister of State Browne announces funding allocations for Youth Diversion Projects for 2022

Minister of State with responsibility for Youth Justice, James Browne T.D., is delighted to announce just under €6.7m in funding allocations for over 50 Youth Diversion Projects (YDPs) nationwide. YDPs engage with young people through a range of supports, including education, training and employment support, social enterprise initiatives, as well as personal development and supports such as mentoring, and personal development activities.

Read the article Here

14th June 2022

Irish people need to stop ‘reveling in and laughing at’ our relationship with alcohol

Irish people need to stop ‘reveling in and laughing at’ our relationship with alcohol. That’s according to Dr Garrett McGovern, a GP specialising in substance abuse at the Priory Medical Clinic. He was speaking as a new report from the Health Research Board (HRB) found adolescents are starting to drink alcohol at a later age and the number of young people who do not drink has increased from 11% in 2002 to 265 in 2019.

Read the Newstalk article Here

13th June 2022

Gardaí vow to clean up Dublin city centre streets plagued by crack addiction

Gardaí have vowed to clamp down on serious anti-social behaviour occurring in Dublin city centre caused by a huge increase in the use of crack cocaine in the capital. Use of the drug, which is a powerful stimulant, is the worst it has been for over a decade, according to outreach workers as well as local business owners. 

Read The article Here

24th May 2022

Supports needed for Irish families mourning drug-related deaths

Almost two people per day die in Ireland as a result of a drug-related death. To put this in context, 786 drug deaths occurred in 2017, which was double the amount of people who died by suicide and almost five times the figure of those who died in traffic accidents.

Read the RTE News article Here

10th May 2022

Prison Service to begin drug screening of officers amid plans to tackle contraband

Prison officers will soon be screened for illicit drug use as part of a new plan to reduce contraband influence in jails. The director general of the Irish Prison Service has said that the new plan will be implemented as part of an agreement with the Prison Officers’ Association. “It is our intention in the short and medium term that we will introduce testing because we need to be honest, in every cross section of society there are people who engage in drug taking behaviour, and it would be naive of us to think that within the cohort of prison officers there are people who are not taking drugs,” said Caron McCaffrey.

Read the article Here


3rd May 2022

Future of outreach drug project secured as it joins youth group

The future of an innovative outreach project targeting volatile people caught up in the drugs trade has been secured after it was taken over by a youth organisation. Targeted Response with Youth (TRY) has been beset by funding crises since it started as a pilot project in 2017 and, just over a year ago, faced closure. TRY is a peer-mentoring project where outreach workers engage in a long-term effort to gain the trust of people involved in drug use, street dealing and anti-social behaviour.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

26th April 2022

Why aren’t we willing to protect children from profiling and targeting by corporate forces selling harmful products such as alcohol, betting and junk food?

Alcohol Action Ireland in particular is interested in ensuring that children are protected from digital alcohol advertising and the insidious practices of tracking, profiling and targeting young people to market harmful and addictive products. Unfortunately, in this area, the Bill falls short in protecting children from what global children’s rights experts call exploitive marketing of unhealthy commodities and “an important threat to children’s health and futures”. 

Read the Alcohol Action article Here

25th April 2022

‘It’s made criminals out of decent people’: People Before Profit to introduce Bill to legalise cannabis

A Bill to end the criminalisation of cannabis will be introduced in the Dáil in July by People Before Profit. Dublin Mid-West TD Gino Kenny has said thousands of people use cannabis every day but possession of even small amounts can cause people to be criminalised.  “There is no more reason for cannabis to be illegal than alcohol,” he said.

Read The article Here

20th April 2022

Irish Examiner view: Drug spiking claims must be heard

Drug spiking is possibly one of the most insidious and vile offences one person can commit against another. For anyone to attempt to take advantage of someone by furtively spiking a drink with one form of drug or another is a horrible and repulsive act deserving of the most punitive penalties the courts can dish out. However, what is more worrying is not only that this crime is on the increase, according to gardaí and other contemporary sources, but that numerous incidents are unreported.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

19th April 2022

EU pushes Ireland to outlaw opioid that is 500 times more potent than morphine

Ireland has been asked by the EU to explain why a synthetic opioid drug said to be 500 times more potent than morphine has not been outlawed, as directed by the bloc two years ago. Doctors and public health experts have increasingly sounded the alarm in recent years about isotonitazene, an opioid analgesic that is not medically authorised.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

12th April 2022

 Pandemic brought ‘big wins’ for those tackling drug addiction

One of the country’s leading homeless charities has said the Covid-19 pandemic brought “big wins” in terms of people tackling their drug addiction in isolation, with many being fast-tracked in more stable housing as a result. The CEO of the Peter McVerry Trust, Pat Doyle, said elements of the way in which homeless drug users were treated during the pandemic should be retained into the future.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

29th March 2022

Hair drug testing — an innovative method for monitoring drug use

Hair drug testing involves collecting hair samples from individuals and analysing them for traces of substances which may have been recently consumed. Although the method cannot assess the level of consumption, it can provide a temporal overview of substances used. Hair drug testing can be used in combination with surveys to validate self-reported information.

Read the EMCDDA article Here

14th March 2022

Gambling firms are betting on ethical change

All bets are off for gambling firms as the increased focus on ethics is forcing the industry to change its business model. The digitalisation of betting changed the face of gambling, allowing gamblers to click on an app to bet on sports events or casinos at any time of the day or night. The tantalising risk involved in online gambling has proven to be as addictive and as destructive as alcohol and drugs.

Read the article Here

1st March 2022

Gardaí may be given heroin antidote to save lives

Frontline gardaí could be given medication to reverse heroin and methadone overdoses, cutting user deaths, under measures being examined by Garda HQ. The HSE said it hoped the provision of naloxone and the necessary training of gardaí could be progressed. It comes as Police Scotland decided last week to provide naloxone to its 12,000 officers following successful trials by police of the spray form of the treatment.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

28th February 2022

Groups concerned at delay in establishing citizens’ assembly on drugs

Community and voluntary drug groups are increasingly concerned at the Government’s pace in establishing a promised citizens’ assembly on drugs. The pledge was contained in the most recent programme for government, a five-year document published in June 2020. The assembly on drugs is one of four outstanding fora — the others being on a directly-elected Dublin mayor, the future of education, and biodiversity.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

25th February 2022

Record number of heroin users accessing help

The number of heroin users in drug treatment has reached record numbers, with almost 11,500 receiving substitute medication. Almost 1,000 extra people were brought into treatment services across the country in the last two years, during the pandemic, including around 100 in Cork and Kerry. The increase in Cork and Kerry is almost double that nationally, with a 20% jump in the region versus 10% elsewhere.

Read the Examiner article Here

22nd February 2022

Nurse to be appointed to National Oversight Committee on Drugs after row over membership

A nurse with a background in addiction studies is expected to be appointed to the National Oversight Committee (NOC) on Drugs after initial criticism over the configuration of the group. The Ireland Chapter of International Nurses Society on Addiction (IntNSA) served on the NOC until December when they were removed after the committee was reconfigured without warning.

Read The article Here

16th February 2022

Random drug testing in the Defence Forces: 108 positive cases over eight years

Over 100 members of the Defence Forces tested positive illegal drug use over an eight-year period, with the majority dismissed from duty as a result.  Following revelations of up to 12 Naval Service personnel testing positive in a swoop last Monday on the Haulbowline naval base in Cork, the Irish Examiner has confirmed that 8,654 random drugs tests were carried out on Army, Naval Service and Air Corps personnel between 2013 and 2020.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

15th February 2022

An Bord Pleanála reconsiders application for supervised drug injection facility near school

A planning row is set to reignite over a renewed effort to secure planning permission for the country’s first medically supervised injection facility. An Bord Pleanála is to reconsider an application by Merchant’s Quay Ireland to operate a controversial drop-in facility at the drug treatment centre’s headquarters on Merchant’s Quay, Dublin.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

14th February 2022

FASD: Pointing out the dangers of alcohol in the womb

A blank canvas of possibility lies ahead of most children when they are born. But for some, that canvas has already been filled in in the early days of pregnancy, according to those with experience of children and young people with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). Now, a new advocacy organisation to support children, young adults, and families living with FASD across Ireland has been established in Clare, by parent Tristan Casson-Rennie. FASD Ireland opened its doors in Ennis on January 17. 

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

2nd February 2022

Weekly ‘low-risk’ alcohol guidelines to be reviewed

A review and update of the weekly low-risk alcohol guidelines is upcoming and changes in drinking patterns during the pandemic will inform the process, this newspaper has been told. The weekly low-risk alcohol guidelines were last assessed in 2015 following a review commissioned by the HSE. The HSE Alcohol Programme has since been established and now oversees the guidelines.

Read the Medical Independent article Here

31st January 2022

Ministers for Health establish the Public Health Reform Expert Advisory Group

Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly TD, and Minister of State with responsibility for Public Health, Wellbeing and the National Drugs Strategy, Frank Feighan TD, today announced the establishment of a Public Health Reform Expert Advisory Group (EAG).

Read the press release Here

24th January 2022

Use of ecstasy and cocaine drops during pandemic

Use of cannabis herb increased the most of all illegal drugs during the first year of Covid-19 restrictions among people who took part in a large-scale EU-wide survey. Reflecting the effective shutdown of pubs, clubs and parties across much of Europe, use of ecstasy and cocaine reduced the greatest among respondents in the year.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

17th January 2022

Drug trends under scrutiny after third seizure of new synthetic stimulant

Health experts are keeping a close eye on drug trends after what is thought to be the third seizure in Ireland of a new synthetic stimulant. It comes as the State’s forensic testing agency plans a series of measures to improve drug testing services amid calls from HSE bosses for more active monitoring of the market to allow for speedy alerts to drug users. This is against the background of an increase in the strength of drugs such as ecstasy (MDMA) and a rise in the presence of other lesser known but often more potent chemicals, either contained in ecstasy tablets or purporting to be ecstasy.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

10th January 2022

Minister for Public Health, Wellbeing and the National Drugs Strategy welcomes confirmation Tallaght projects continue to provide drug services

The Minister of State for Public Health, Wellbeing and the National Drugs Strategy, Frank Feighan TD, has today welcomed confirmation that community drug projects in Tallaght – Jobstown Assisting Drug Dependency (Jadd) and Community Action Response Programme (Carp) – are continuing to provide services, including crack cocaine services.

Read the press release Here

7th January 2022

Homelessness & addiction: women need a safe space at Merchant’s Quay

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the most vulnerable in our society the hardest. The national homeless and addiction charity Merchants Quay Ireland has seen this first hand. Their clients, already marginalised and stigmatised, have struggled with increased isolation and anxiety, with female clients in particular experiencing a unique set of barriers and obstacles preventing them from accessing the services they need.

Read the Hot Press article Here

6th January 2022

Minimum alcohol pricing could lead to increased sale of illicit homebrews

The introduction of minimum unit pricing for alcohol could lead to an increase in the use of illegal drugs and the sale of illicit high-grade alcohol. Minimum unit pricing was introduced on Tuesday as a health measure to reduce alcohol-related harm. Mike Guerin, who is a senior addiction counsellor with Cuan Mhuire in Bruree, Co Limerick, said the changes could have unintended consequences.

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

5th January 2022

Large numbers of people with drug addictions were ‘left to kill themselves slowly’ during lockdowns

Large numbers of people struggling with drug addiction were abandoned and ‘left to kill themselves slowly’ during the Covid lockdown, support service workers have told The Journal. For five months from March to September 2020, the government designated substance abuse support groups, such as Narcotics Anonymous, as non-essential services and ordered them to close, leaving thousands of struggling addicts without a lifeline.

Read The article Here

4th January 2022

Ministers Donnelly and Feighan welcome introduction of minimum unit pricing of alcohol

The Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly TD and the Minister for Public Health, Well Being and the National Drugs Strategy, Frank Feighan TD today welcomed minimum unit pricing on retail alcohol sales coming into force. Ireland is now one of only a small number of countries in the world to introduce minimum pricing. Scotland was the first in Europe to introduce it in 2018 followed by Wales in 2020. Other countries and territories which already have a legal minimum price include the Russian Federation and regions in Australia and Canada.

Read the press release Here

3rd January 2022

Alcohol price controls will boost health, help hospitals and save lives

Minimum unit pricing (MUP), a central pillar of Ireland’s public health approach to reducing alcohol use across society, comes into effect on January 4th. This measure addresses the widespread availability of exceptionally cheap, strong alcohol throughout the retail sector. It aims to reduce the levels of alcohol use, especially among the heaviest drinkers and younger people who are most likely to consume cheap forms of strong alcohol.

Read the Irish Times article Here

22nd December 2021

Cannabis should be regulated, taxed and taken out of the hands of dangerous drug cartels

An article Dr McGovern wrote in the about cannabis and the law. Cannabis is not a harmless drug as some might have you think but the laws governing it make thhose harms greater by stigmatising, criminalising and in many cases presecuting people who use the drug. Further, when people take a drug purchased on the black market there is no guarantee what the constituents of that drug is. Providing a legal framework would reduce these risks.

Read the article Here

9th December 2021

Cheaper crack cocaine supplies in cities ‘sees people travel from rural areas to buy the drug’

Crack cocaine users are travelling from rural county Kerry to Limerick to buy the drug because it is cheaper in the city, a drug addiction worker has said. Speaking at the 24-hour online conference on Global Organised Crime Tony Duffin, CEO of Ana Liffey Drug Project revealed the findings of his organisation’s recent studies on the reach of crack cocaine in Ireland. 

Read the article Here

7th December 2021

Minister Feighan convenes oversight committee to drive the implementation of the national drugs strategy for 2021-2025

The Minister of State for Public Health, Wellbeing and the National Drugs Strategy, Frank Feighan TD, convened the first meeting of the oversight committee to drive the implementation of the national drugs strategy for 2021-2025 on Friday, 3 December.

Read the article Here

6th December 2021

Gambling addiction: ‘It is everywhere you look, and it is big business’

“The walls started to close in around me. Between borrowing money, and telling lies, and getting into financial difficulty, the walls were closing in. Niall McNamee (36), who was in his mid-teens when he started going to the bookies on Saturdays to place a few bets on horse racing, is talking about when his gambling addiction began to overwhelm him

Read the Irish Times article Here

30th November 2021

Questions raised about moderate alcohol consumption’s health benefits and  longer life.

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

Read the Medical News Weekly article Here

25th November 2021

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

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

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

22nd November 2021

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

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

Read the Irish Times article Here

18th November 2021

Domhnall Nugent’s battle back from addiction and homelessness

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

Read the Irish Times article Here

17th November 2021

A guide to helping employees with addiction

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

Read the Safety and Health Practitioner article Here 

12th November 2021

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

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

Read the Medical News Today article Here

11th November 2021

Students take a stand against ‘drink spiking’

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

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

8th November 2021

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

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

Read the UNAIDS article Here

2nd November 2021

Alert for Ireland on cancers driven by alcohol.

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

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

20th October 2021

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

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

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

19th October 2021

A growing problem for women in the workplace: Alcohol addiction

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

Read the article Here

18th October 2021

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

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

Read the article Here

15th October 2021

Recovering from alcohol addiction in prison: Bruce shares his story

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

Read the WHO article Here

12th October 2021

Councillors agree motion to explore safe injection centre for drug users

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

Read the Irish Times article Here

11th October 2021

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

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

Read the Alcohol Action Report Here

6th October 2021

Warnings over dangers of ‘fake’ THC edibles

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

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

4th October 2021

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

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

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

24th September 2021

Gardaí warn college freshers of the dangers of recreational drug use

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

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

21st September 2021

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

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

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

20th September 2021

Experts want pilot project to test drugs at music festivals

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

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

17th September 2021

As addiction rates soar, employers can offer a lifeline

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

Read the Benefit News article Here

16th September 2021

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

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

Read the Irish Times article Here

13th September 2021

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

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

Read the article Here

10th September 2021

Gambling industry must pay for addiction treatment

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

Read the Irish Times article Here

7th September 2021

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

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

Read the Irish Times article Here

6th September 2021

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

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

Read and listen to the Newstalk Breakfast article Here

3rd September 2021

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

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

Read the Guardian article Here

2nd September 2021

Drugs trade ‘never waned’, bucking Covid crime trends

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

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

1st September 2021

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

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

Read the Ana Liffey article Here

30th August 2021

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

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

Read the Irish Times article Here

27th August 2021

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

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

Read the Newstalk article Here

26th August 2021

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

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

Read the Alcohol Action Ireland article Here

19th August 2021

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

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

Read the Alcohol Action article Here

11th August 2021

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

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

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

6th August 2021

A new treatment for alcohol abuse

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

Read the University of California article Here

3rd August 2021

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

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

Read the Sky Sports article Here

29th July 2021

Online consultation on the Global alcohol action plan, first draft

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

Read the WHO press release Here

26th July 2021

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

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

Read the Irish Times article Here

19th July 2021

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

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

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

15th July 2021

Thousands of our citizens abandoned to a life captured by alcohol

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

Read the Alcohol Action media publication Here

13th July 2021

Gambling watchdog to be ‘powerful’, says Minister

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

Read the Irish Times article Here

8th July 2021

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

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

Read The article Here

5th July 2021

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

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

Read the Irish Times article Here

27th June 2021

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

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

Read the article Here

14th June 2021

Charity concerned over number of crack cocaine users

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

Read the article Here

8th June 2021

Court rules that section of anti drug trafficking law is unconstitutional

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

Read The Breaking News article Here

4th June 2021

Tobacco firm frustrated over delay in menthol ban investigation

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

Read the Irish Times article Here

3rd June 2021

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

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

Read the article Here

1st June 2021

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

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

Read The article Here

31st May 2021

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

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

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

13th May 2021

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

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

Read the Irish Times article Here

10th May 2021

The burning issue: Should cannabis be legalised?

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

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

27th April 2021

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

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

Read the Department of Justice press release Here

19th April 2021

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

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

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

15th April 2021

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

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

Read the report Here

12th April 2021

Women, alcohol and COVID-19

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

Read the Harvard Health Publishing article Here

9th April 2021

Editorial: the moral complexities of drug policy

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

Read the Volteface article Here

8th April 2021

GAA praised for their ‘socially responsible approach’ towards gambling

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

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

5th April 2021

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

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

Read the Dept. of Justice statement Here

1st April 2021

35% of Cork prison population seeking drug treatment in jail

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

Read the article Here

22nd March 2021

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

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

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

9th March 2021

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

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

Read The article Here

5th March 2021

Injectable medication shows promise for Anchorage’s homeless alcoholics

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

Read the Alaska article Here

1st March 2021

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

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

Read Alcohol Action Ireland article Here

26th February 2021

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

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

Read the statement Here

24th February 2021

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

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

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

23rd February 2021

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

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

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

22nd February 2021

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

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

Read Irish Examiner article Here

16th February 2021

FG Seanad leader backs call for minimum unit pricing on alcohol

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

Read the Irish Times article Here

12th February 2021

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

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

Read the EMCDDA article Here

9th February 2021

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

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

Read the article Here

28th January 2021

Methadone recipients say they feel their lives are put on hold

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

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

26th January 2021

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

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

Read the article Here

25th January 2021

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

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

Read the article Here

11th January 2021

Alcohol Action Ireland welcomes ending of promotions that incentivise alcohol use

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

Read the Alcohol Action Ireland article Here

7th January 2021

Opinion: Irish laws on drugs need to grow up

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

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

6th January 2021

Psychiatrists call for urgent action on gambling

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

Listen to The Morning Ireland RTE piece Here


4th January 2021

Gambling regulator set to be in place by summer

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

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

15th December 2020

Can universities reduce harms associated with students’ drug use? 

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

Read the article Here

11th December 2020

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

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

Read the Newstalk story Here

8th December 2020

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

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

Watch the Claire Byrne Live show Here

1st December 2020

 Addiction services see major increase in demand

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

Read the RTE News article Here

23rd November 2020

Cannabis reform in Ireland with Natalie O’Regan & CCAN

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

Read the article Here

16th November 2020

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

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

Read the article Here


10th November 2020

Women advised to moderate alcohol consumption over breast cancer fears

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

Read the article Here

9th November 2020

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

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

Read the article Here

4th November 2020

Oregon becomes first US state to decriminalise hard drugs

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

Read the article Here

3rd November 2020

Women advised to moderate alcohol consumption over breast cancer fears

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

Read the article Here

23rd October 2020

Learning Points: Teens’ alcohol attitudes are deadly serious

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

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

20th October 2020

Surge in alcohol-related calls to HSE helpline

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

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

9th October 2020

Placing restrictions now on alcohol sales is a prudent act

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

Read the Alcohol Action article Here

2nd October 2020

We need to talk about Ireland’s problem with alcohol

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

Read the article Here

29th September 2020

Ireland three times above European average for drug related deaths

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

Rad the article Here

24th September 2020

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

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

Read the HRB report Here

21st September 2020

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

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

Read the Medical Independent article Here

18th September 2020

Introduction of gambling regulator is delayed again

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

Read the article Here

17th September 2020

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

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

Read the Irish Times article Here

9th September 2020

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

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

Read the HSE.IE article Here

4th September 2020

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

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

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

27th August 2020

We should be alarmed at high level of addiction deaths

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

Read the article Here

18th August 2020

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

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

Listen to the interview Here

10th August 2020

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

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

Read the Irish Times article Here

5th August 2020

Twins study finds no evidence that marijuana lowers IQ in teens

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

Read the article Here

29th July 2020

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

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

Read the Irish Times article Here

24th July 2020

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

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

Read the BMJ Open study Here

16th July 2020

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

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

Read the HRB Report Here

14th July 2020

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

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

Read the Irish Times article Here

10th July 2020

Treatment for cocaine trebles in just six years

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

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

9th July 2020

Use of Crack Cocaine in Ireland has increased

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

Listen to Today with Sarah McInerney interview Here

7th July 2020

Health Minister Donnelly stands by open minded attitude toward cannabis

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

Read the article Here

3rd July 2020

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

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

Read the Medical Independent article Here

2nd July 2020

Hundreds of litres of alcohol seized in Irish prisons last year

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

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

30th June 2020

Lowering alcohol excise duty would be counter to public health policy

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

Read the Alcohol Action article Here


29th June 2020

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

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

Read the article Here

26th June 2020

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

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

Read the Alcohol Action Ireland article Here

19th June 2020

Alcohol Action Ireland urge men to rethink what they drink

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

Read the Alcohol Action article Here

18th June 2020

Alcohol in Ireland: Dying for a drink

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

Read the Medical Independent article Here

15th June 2020

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

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

Read the article Here

9th June 2020

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

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

Read the Alcohol Action article Here

29th May 2020

Coronavirus Ireland: Prescription drug abuse set to soar during lockdown

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

Read the article Here

25th May 2020

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

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

Read The Conversation article Here

20th May 2020

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

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

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

19th May 2020

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

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

Read the article Here

18th May 2020

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

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

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

14th May 2020

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

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

Read the article Here

11th May 2020

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

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

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

7th May 2020

The Green Party calls for drug decriminalisation in Ireland

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

Read the Hot Press article Here

13th April 2020

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

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

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

8th April 2020

Anti-overdose medication training aims to protect drug users

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

Read the Irish Times artice Here

7th April 2020

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

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

Read the article Here

6th April 2020

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

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

Read the article Here

2nd April 2020

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

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

Read the Irish Times article Here

1st April 2020

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

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

Read the Irish Times article Here

31st March 2020

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

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

Read the NPR article Here

30th March 2020

Drinking during the pandemic: Finding balance

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

Read the article Here

27th March 2020

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

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

Read the Alcohol Action article Here

26th March 2020

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

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

Read the Irish Times article Here

24th March 2020

Public transport companies give details of alcohol and drugs tests

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

Read the Irish Times article Here

22nd March 2020

Irish people drinking less alcohol, figures show

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

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

6th March 2020

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

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

Read the MQI article Here

28th February 2020

Colleges must provide alcohol-free student accommodation under new rules

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

Read the Irish Times article Here

25th February 2020

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

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

Read the article Here

24th February 2020

Tallaght residents the driving force behind pioneering drug-treatment project

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

Read The article Here

18th February 2020

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

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

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

14th February 2020

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

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

Read The article Here

11th February 2020

Group suggests allowing nurses to prescribe methadone

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

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

February 6th 2020

High time: Netherlands moves to clean up absurd cannabis policy

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

Read the Irish Times article Here

4th February 2020

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

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

Read the Irish Times article Here

27th January 2020

‘Young people need education on the effects of cannabis’

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

Read the article Here

24th January 2020

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

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

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

21st January 2020

‘Perfect storm’ for cocaine leads to record hauls

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

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

17th January 2020

How to change your relationship with alcohol

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

Read the Irish Health article Here

14th January 2020

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

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

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

13th January 2020

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

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

Read the article Here

10th January 2020

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

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

Read the Alcohol Action Ireland article Here

9th January 2020

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

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

Read the article Here

7th January 2020

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

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

Read the article Here

6th January 2020

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

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

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

3rd January 2020

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

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

Read the Newstalk article Here

1st January 2020

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

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

Read the article Here

30th December 2019

Health minister asks media outlets not to use Drinkaware information

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

Read the article Here

24th December 2019

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

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

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

20th December 2020

More people are killed by drugs than cars

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

Read the Irish Times article Here

12th December 2019

Problem alcohol use in Ireland: Figures indicate a national crisis

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

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

9th December 2019

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

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

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

Read the Irish Times article Here

6th December 2019

Homeless crisis opening up ‘cesspool’ of addiction

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

Read the Irish Times article Here

3rd December 2019

Medical cannabis ‘will change lives’, advocates say

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

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

2nd December 2019

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

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

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

29th November 2019

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

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

Read the Irish Examiner article Here

28th November 2019

Smoking levels falling faster than increases in e-cigarette use

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

Read the Irish Times article Here

19th November 2019

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

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

Read the article Here


15th November 2019

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

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

Read the article Here


12th November 2019

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

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

Read the article Here


17th October 2019

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

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

Read the Irish Examiner article Here


24th July 2019

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

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

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

15th July 2019

Irish Times view on Benzodiazepine use: a cause for concern

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

Read the Irish Times article Here


18th June 2019

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

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

Read The article Here


11th June 2019

Concerns at trends with cannabis, ecstasy and heroin

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

Read the Irish Examiner article Here


6th June 2019

Editorial: ‘Gambling reform pace far too slow’

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

Read The Editorial Here


21st May 2019

Should cannabis be legalised?

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

Listen to Newstalk’s Lunchtime Live interview Here


20th May 2019

Ireland ‘sleepwalking’ into liberal cannabis regime, warn doctors

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

Read The Irish Times letter Here

17th May 2019

Govt to set up independent regulator to oversee gambling industry

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

Read The Irish Examiner article Here

16th May  2019

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

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

Read The article Here


27th March 2019

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

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

Read The Irish Times article Here


22nd March 2019

Rise in ‘severe’ alcohol use, say experts

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

Read The Irish Examiner article Here


21st March 2019

Codeine addiction surges as workers seek hangover cure

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

Read The article Here


15th March 2019

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

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

Read The Breaking article Here


16th February 2019

90% of gambling addicts treated by HSE are young men

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

Read The article Here


14th February 2019

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

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

Read The article Here


3rd February 2019

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

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

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


14th January 2019

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

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

Listen to the Newstalk Between the Lines discussion Here


8th November 2018

Doctor ashamed over cannabis medicine as families forced to travel abroad

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

Read The Irish Examiner article Here


20th June 2018

Addiction to video games is now a recognised illness

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

Read The article Here


5th June 2018

Huge rise in numbers attending for treatment for cocaine use

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

Listen to the Newstalk interview Here


26th April 2018

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

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

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


23rd April 2018

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

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

Read The Irish Mirror article Here

17th April 2018

Should cannabis be legalised in Ireland?

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

Listen to Newstalk’s Lunchtime Live Here


20th March 2018

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

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

Listen to Newstalk’s Lunchtime Live programme Here


31st January 2018

Do we need to change our attitude towards drug addicts?

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

Listen to the Newstalk interview Here


27th November 2017

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

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

Listen to the Newstalk Breakfast interview Here


27th October 2017

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

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


8th September 2017

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

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

Listen to the High Noon interview Here


19th July 2017

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

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

Listen to The High Noon interview Here


6th July 2017

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

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

Listen to the Newstalk debate Here


20th April 2017

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

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

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

7th April 2017 Video Debate: Supervised injecting rooms


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

Watch The video debate Here


5th April 2017

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

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

Listen to Newstalk’s High Noon interview Here

3rd March 2017

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

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

Read the Irish Times article Here


8th February 2017

Supervised injecting centres move one step closer

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

Listen to The Last Word interview Here


5th January 2017

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

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

Listen to the RTE Radio One interview Here


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