Heroin use is increasing in Dublin – with 10 new users a week now registering at a treatment clinic. Tony Geoghegan, chief executive at the Merchants Quay Ireland facility in the Irish capital, says the recession is only adding to Ireland’s drug problems.

New figures released by the Merchants Quay body have revealed they supported 4,308 clients in Dublin in 2010. The figure includes 575 new injectors who attended needle exchange clinics.
Geoghegan told the Irish Independent that the average figure of 10 new users a week highlights that demand for drugs remains constant in the city.

“I think it’s significant there was still an increase in clients despite the fact there was practically no heroin on the streets from September to after Christmas. This year’s figures are up again,” Geoghegan told the paper.

The 2010 figures are up slightly on 2009 when 4,092 drug users attended the MQI centre in Dublin, including 642 new injectors.

“Demand for both homeless and drugs services is growing rapidly as the recession continued, yet finances are contracting,” added Geoghegan.

MQI distributed 57,840 meals to homeless people in 2010, a 26 per cent jump from 2009 when 45,710 meals were provided.

“Our response has been to expand and develop our services on the tightest budget possible to meet this need,” added Geoghegan.

“There is also evidence of a strong link between homelessness and drug use, with over one-third of admissions at one residential treatment programme being clients who were previously homeless.”

Drug problems are also growing outside Dublin according to the MQI report on activities at its 11 centers nationwide.

“It is important to highlight the fact that drug treatment works, both on the human and on the economic level,” said Geoghegan.

“Most of all, investing in all of these areas, such as our new detox unit in Carlow, reduces the misery associated with drug use and homelessness for the individual, their families, their communities and society as a whole.”

Heroin use on the increase in Dublin