Addicts must be clean for 6 weeks before treatment can be accessed
Speaking this evening on the Adjournment, Fine Gael Cork Senator, Jerry Buttimer, questioned the resources available to deal with the escalating heroin problem in Cork which he said is reaching epidemic proportions.
“Heroin abuse in Cork City has become a major issue over the last number of years and is dangerously close to epidemic proportions. What was once considered a problem confined to Dublin is now become firmly entrenched in other parts of the country.
“We have reached the stage in Cork where heroin is easily obtainable and readily available to buy on our streets in broad daylight. Only last April we learned, through an inquest, of a man who died after taking heroin he bought in a Cork City shopping centre in mid afternoon.
“If this crisis is to be addressed there is a need for greater resourcing of treatment places. I recently met with a family who lost their son to this horrendous addiction and who were extremely critical of the help available to those in need. They told me that the criteria to gain entry to Arbour House drug treatment facility is that the addict must be clean for at least six weeks.
Leading consultants in Cork University Hospital and Mercy University Hospital have warned that at least 12 people will die from Heroin overdoses in Cork alone this year, saying that heroin cases now feature daily in our hospitals.
“Improved facilities must be made available if people are to be given the best chance of recovery and if the growing tide of the problem in Cork is to be stemmed. With a nine month waiting list to attend Arbour House and with 95 people currently waiting for help, sufficient resources are clearly not available.
“Tony Geoghegan, the chief executive of the largest voluntary drug treatment project in the country, Merchants Quay Ireland, recently said that making people wait is essentially a disincentive for heroin addicts seeking treatment. What is needed now is a multi-faceted plan to tackle drug addiction which focuses on the criminal element of supply, satisfactory treatment for addicts and pin-pointing and eliminating attraction for the pre-user.”