Help for cocaine use trebles at Cork centre

The number of people seeking help for cocaine addiction has trebled since 2016, new treatment centre figures show.

Alcohol remains the drug of choice with nearly seven out of every 10 people seeking help for alcohol-related problems, the Tabor Group said as it published its 2018 annual report.

The group is one of the leading providers in Ireland of residential addiction treatment services for people seeking help for addiction to alcohol, substances, gambling, and food.

Its facilities include Tabor Lodge in Belgooly, Co Cork, its main addiction treatment centre and which is open to men and women over 18; the Tabor Renewal facility in Shanakiel, on the city’s northside, an extended residential treatment centre for women; and Tabor Fellowship House, at Spur Hill in Togher on the city’s southside, an extended residential treatment centre for men.

Its 2018 annual report shows that more than 300 people accessed treatment for addiction across the three facilities during the year.

While people are referred to the group by a variety of agencies, 2018 saw a 5% increase in the number of people self-presenting for treatment compared to the previous year.

The report shows that 67% of all clients presented with alcohol-related problems — up 2% from 2017 — with a 4.5% increase in the number of people admitted to Tabor Lodge, where 93% of all clients successfully completed their primary residential treatment programme.

Said chairman Denis Healy:

Alcohol continues to remain the drug of choice with nearly seven out of 10 people seeking help for alcohol-related problems at Tabor Group

He said the biggest change in the age profile of clients presenting for treatment at Tabor Lodge was in the 45-54 age bracket, where a 5% increase was recorded.

The number of people presenting with opiate or heroin addiction was down from 8% to 5% of all presentations in 2018.

Cocaine use among clients presenting for treatment has more than trebled since 2016 — up from 4% to 13% — with cannabis also up 1% in the past year.

Addiction to alcohol alone is seen rarely, according to the report, with large numbers of people presenting for treating reporting polydrug use, with ecstasy, cannabis, cocaine, heroin, and prescribed medication being reported.

“The patterns that we have seen over the last number of years continued throughout 2018 with high numbers of clients presenting with poly-drug use and dual diagnosis of mental illnesses,” said Mr Healy.

Of the 51 clients who presented at Tabor Renewal in 2018, 90% cited alcohol as their drug of choice, while the figure was 94% at Tabor Fellowship House.

A total of 184 people attended the group’s continuing care programme with 454 people attending its family support programmes.

Mr Healy said demand for places at the group’s two secondary addiction treatment centres “remains continuously high”.

The group moved back into Tabor Fellowship House in 2018 following the completion of a €4.8m redevelopment supported by Department of Housing, Cork County Council, and the HSE.

It is hoped the project will help address the growing addiction issue and help prevent homelessness.

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