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Dublin: 13 °C Wednesday 21 August, 2019
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West of Ireland is seeing higher demand for addiction treatment, says Coolmine centre

The Dublin-based addiction centre treated 1,350 people in 2018 and is now planning an expansion to Limerick.

Image: Shutterstock/Orawan Pattarawimonchai

Demand for addiction treatment is rising in part because of Ireland’s homelessness crisis, one of the country’s largest treatment centres has said. 

The Coolmine addiction treatment centre, which is predominantly based in Dublin, is now seeking to expand to Limerick in response to growing demand from high-risk families in the west of Ireland. 

The charity’s 2019-2022 strategic plan, launched at City Hall Dublin yesterday, reveals that in one residential centre for women and families, Ashleigh House, figures for those seeking treatment in 2019 have risen to 63, a nearly 50% increase from 2018. 

With no dedicated addiction service for families in the west, Coolmine is hoping to respond to increasing numbers of mothers travelling to Dublin to access their services. Speaking to TheJournal.ie, Coolmine Chief Executive Pauline McKeown said 30% of the women trying to access the charity’s residential centre in Dublin were from the mid-west. 

Many of the women presenting to the service were polydrug users, with 40% using heroin. McKeown also noted that the charity had seen a rise in the use of cocaine. Women are more likely to be polydrug users than men, according to Coolmine figures.

As the centre seeks €1.6 million in state funding to provide treatment services to high-risk families in Limerick and the mid-west, McKeown stressed that greater financial support was needed to cope with the growing demand. “The team of experts has consistently delivered programmes that helped thousands of people over the years and provided tangible savings for the State,” she said.

The strategic plan also reveals that the Coolmine outreach programme tailored for Travellers and ethnic minorities, established with the North Dublin Regional Drugs and Alcohol Task Force, treats nearly 120 people annually.

Coolmine, a therapeutic service for those suffering from addiction, was founded in 1973 and specialises in community-based treatment. In 2016, a Trinity College Dublin study found that 80 per cent of the centre’s clients remain drug-free two years after treatment.

Alan Connolly, chairman of Coolmine, said: “We believe that everyone should have the opportunity to overcome addiction and lead a fulfilled and productive life.”

“We are currently the only service in Ireland that provides residential treatment to pregnant women and mothers with their children; we also work with a significant number of prisoners,” he said.

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