Substance misuse on the rise in Limerick


Saoirse-Limk-23THE Saoirse Addiction Treatment Centre in Limerick city centre has seen a 41 per cent increase in the number of people through its doors for substance misuse in 2014.

General Manager of the Davis Street-based counselling service, Alan Galvin told the Limerick Post this week that 342 new clients have availed of their programmes this year.

319 of them accessed the centre for substance misuse and the remainder for family supports, he revealed.

This figure has risen substantially from 2013, when 226 clients accessed the centre for substance misuse.

Around 80 per cent of the people through Saoirse’s doors this year were from Limerick, with the remainder travelling from Clare, Tipperary, Cork and Dublin. The most prevalent presenting issue or primary drug of choice was alcohol, which accounted for 50 per cent or 160 clients. This compares with 44 per cent in 2013.

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Mr Galvin said the figures for 2014 are very worrying, maintaining it represents a “greater manifestation” of alcohol misuse.

“The fact that alcohol misuse was the primary issue is probably indicative of its low cost and availability. It is freely available, and I think we need to look at our relationship with alcohol as a society,” Mr Galvin suggested.

According to Saoirse’s figures for 2014, 58 per cent of those in treatment were male and 42 per cent were female. The most significant age group was the 18 to 30 age group with 180 clients presenting to Saoirse

“The numbers are increasing and it certainly hasn’t ¬†plateaued to date. Our statistics support the fact that the 18 to 30 age group are predominantly abusing alcohol and other substances including weed and benzos,” he said.

In 2014, 53 per cent of clients (168) reported suicidal ideation. This compares with 112 or 50 per cent the previous year. With the festive season now in full swing, Saoirse are advising people to be drink aware this Christmas.

“We have lost the message of Christmas and it has become associated with indulgence, partying and excessive drinking. This has become the accepted norm. We would advise people to be cognisant of not drinking too much and concentrate on getting home safe after a night out. Break up a night out with a soft drink or glass of water.

“While the numbers through our door continue to increase, funding has remained the same, which is one of the great difficulties we face in maintaining our counselling service and recovery programmes. It is essential we continue this important work in Limerick,” he concluded.

For more details visit Saoirse on facebook, telephone 085-8184590 or email [email protected].