Cocaine cases at Kerry treatment centre double in 2017

Cocaine cases at Kerry treatment centre double in 2017

A well-known addiction centre dealt with twice as many people with problem cocaine use last year than it did in 2016.

But Talbot Grove said that alcohol still accounted for the bulk of cases, with seven out of 10 clients seeking help due to their drinking.

The Kerry-based centre said that people seeking assistance with their drug use come from “all walks of life”, with a third of them educated to third level.

There was a significant increase in the number of young adults attending, with a quarter of all clients aged under 30 last year.

The 2017 annual report shows that 136 people accessed treatment at the facility, located in Castleisland.

Of these, 120 completed their treatment, reflecting almost nine out of 10 clients.

Of the 16 people who discharged themselves early, half did so against medical advice, but four did so at the request of staff.

Reflecting the ripple effect on people around the client, the report shows there were 350 concerned people, mainly family members, involved in the treatment in some way.

Some 60 of the clients referred themselves to the centre, with family members involved in 53 (39%) and friends in 11 cases.

In relation to the drugs the clients were presenting with:

  • Alcohol was the main problem drug in 97 (71%) of cases, down from 105 (77%) of cases in 2016
  • Cocaine was next, with 14 (10%) cases, double the number of 2016 (7)
  • Cannabis was the main drug in 7 cases, compared to 11 the previous year
  • Opiates remained unchanged, with five cases again in 2017
  • Benzodiazepine cases rose slightly, from 3 to 4
  • Other addictions rose from 6 to 9, and include eating disorders, gambling, spending, gaming, porn and sex

Some 85 clients (63%) were male, the same as 2016. There was an increase from 11 to 18 in clients aged between 18 and 24, with a rise from 12 to 15 in those aged 24 to 29. This means almost a quarter were aged under 30 in 2017, compared to 17% in 2016.

In three out of 10 cases the client was living with parents or family and, in a similar amount of cases, clients were living with a partner and children.

In almost a quarter of cases, clients were either living alone or were a lone parent.

Almost six out of 10 clients were in paid employment with almost a quarter unemployed.

Of the 136 clients, four out of 10 had their Leaving Cert and a third had a third-level qualification.

Almost half of clients were from Kerry, but a quarter were from Cork and 15% were from Limerick.

“This report tells us that there is no one type of individual who can suffer from addiction,” said Con Cremin, executive director of Talbot Grove.

Addiction doesn’t discriminate — you do not simply become an addict because of your background, where you live, or what you do for a living.

“Many people’s perception of an addict may be very different to the reality. Addiction can affect anyone from any walk of life, or at different stages in life.”

He said on-going support was essential for people after their treatment.

Last June, the Health Research Board reported a 90% jump nationwide in new treatments for cocaine use, from 297 in 2012 to 568 in 2016, reaching record highs.

- talbotgrove.ie

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