Overdose strategy ‘critical’ for Ireland

Ireland needs to introduce a national overdose strategy — first promised back in 2009 — an addiction agency has said.

The Ana Liffey Drug Project said such a strategy should include quick access to treatment, the availability of an overdose antidote, legal injecting centres, and minimum alcohol pricing.

The calls coincide with International Overdose Awareness Day, which is highlighting the 183,000 estimated drug-related deaths globally.

Ana Liffey director Tony Duffin said Irish figures show that 350 people died from drug overdoses in 2012 — with Ireland in the top five EU countries for overdoses.

“We believe that a firm target for a reduction in overdose deaths on a year-on-year basis needs to be set,” Mr Duffin said.

The drugs strategy, covering 2009 to 2016, is coming to an end. The action plan included an overdose strategy — but has yet to emerge.

“Ensuring timely access to treatment for people at risk of overdose is also critical,” Mr Duffin said. “In terms of opiates, provision of antagonists like Naloxone to drug users is a step in the right direction.”

Mr Duffin said they were working with the HSE on the Naloxone project.

HSE National Social Inclusion planning specialist Joe Doyle said: “It is important to recognise that behind every death there is a family and a community that is suffering.”


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