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Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

Almost 10,000 people are in methadone programmes in Ireland - and the number is rising

The drug is used to treat heroin addiction.

ALMOST 10,000 PEOPLE in Ireland are accessing methadone treatment – and that number is climbing.

Figures released by the Minister for Health to independent TD Tommy Broughan show that as of the end of May this year, 9,866 people were receiving treatment.

The drug is used to treat addiction to heroin and other opiates.

Dublin and its surrounding areas of Kildare and west Wicklow, account for over 7,000 of those in receipt of treatment.

A further 657 are of no fixed abode.

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The areas are:

Area 1: Donegal, Sligo/Leitrim/West Cavan and Cavan/Monaghan
Area 2: Galway, Roscommon and Mayo
Area 3: Clare, Limerick, and North Tipperary/East Limerick
Area 4: Kerry, North Cork, North Lee, South Lee, and West Cork
Area 5: South Tipperary, Carlow/Kilkenny, Waterford and Wexford
Area 6: Wicklow, Dun Laoghaire and Dublin South East
Area 7: Kildare/West Wicklow, Dublin West, Dublin South City, and Dublin South West
Area 8: Laois/Offaly, Longford/Westmeath, Louth and Meath
Area 9: Dublin North, Dublin North Central and Dublin North West

Earlier this year, Health Minister Leo Varadkar said that methadone was implicated in 86 poisonings in 2012.

The latest annual figures from the National Drug-Related Deaths Index indicate that there were 633 drug related deaths in 2012.  350 of these deaths were due to the toxic effects of drugs which represents a decrease from 387 in 2011.  Methadone was implicated in 86 poisonings in 2012 compared to 118 in 2011.

“The majority of the deaths (87%) where methadone was implicated were polydrug poisonings”.

Broughan says that the figures show a “worsening drugs crisis”.

“We need real alternatives, appropriate supports and timely access to detox rehabilitation centres.”

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