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Sharp increase for drug and alcohol support services in Midlands - Merchants Quay Ireland

Almost 10,000 people accessed MQI’s services last year with almost 50,000 meals given to homeless people on a take-away basis.

Image: RollingNews.ie

THERE WAS A sharp increase in demand for services from Merchants Quay Ireland in the Midlands last year, according to the homeless and addiction service’s annual report. 

MQI, which is based in Dublin City Centre and which has provided services nationwide since 2019, experienced a 61% increase in people accessing its Midlands Service last year compared to 2019. 

In total, 1,298 people were supported by MQI in the Midlands last year, compared to 787 in 2019. 

Almost 10,000 people accessed MQI’s services last year with almost 50,000 meals given to homeless people on a take-away basis. 

MQI has said the full impact of Covid-19 lockdowns on drug and alcohol use has yet to become apparent and that the impact on people’s mental and physical health “may not be realised for some years to come”. 

A total of 4,083 people engaged with MQI’s outreach teams in Dublin last year which resulted in almost 40,000 interventions – am 18% increase compared to 2019.

MQI’s support worker for young people helped 262 people aged between 18 and 24-years-old last year – an increase of 72 people (37%) compared to 2019. 

MQI Chief Executive Paula Byrne said 2020 was “an exceptionally difficult year” for people struggling with homelessness and drug addiction. 

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Byrne said Covid-19 “is just one more trauma on top of a life-time of trauma.

“It is crucial that the Government holds to its commitment to prioritise the issues of drugs, mental health and homelessness and will provide the leadership and resources needed to address these issues in a real and meaningful way.

“With the right support, vulnerable people can and do rebuild their lives and reach their full potential.”

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