Home > Substance misuse in the eastern counties of HSE South.

Moore, Joan (2014) Substance misuse in the eastern counties of HSE South. Drugnet Ireland, Issue 49, Spring 2014, pp. 23-24.

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The Health Service Executive (HSE) South published the report Data co-ordination overview of drug misuse 2012 in November 2012.1 This overview reports on treated substance misuse in the south-eastern counties of Carlow, Kilkenny, South Tipperary, Waterford and Wexford. The report comprises sections relating to treatment services and substance-related offences in the region.
The section on treatment services analyses data collected from statutory and voluntary drug and alcohol treatment agencies, acute general hospitals and psychiatric hospitals in the region. Data from the drug and alcohol treatment services are returned to the National Drug Treatment Reporting System in the Health Research Board.
The total number of individuals seeking treatment in 2012 was 3,719, a decrease of 17 on the 2011 figure. Some 236 concerned persons (family members or close friends of substance users) contacted treatment services in the south east in 2012.
Excluding clients who were assessed only and those who were treated for addictions other than substance misuse, the combined total of continuous care clients and new referrals treated in 2012 was 3,012. Of these:
  • ·         67% were male and 33% were female.
  • ·         6% were under the age of 18, and 23% were aged between 18 and 24.
  • ·         56% were aged under 35.
  • ·         Alcohol (57%) was the most common main problem substance for which treatment was sought, followed by heroin (18%), cannabis (17%), benzodiazepines (3%) and cocaine (2%).
Since 2011 the numbers treated for alcohol as a main problem substance decreased by 7%, and for cocaine by 20%. There was a notable increase (54%) in the number treated for benzodiazepines as a main problem drug (Table 1).
According to the report, the increase in the numbers presenting for treatment for heroin may be owing to a new methadone clinic in South Tipperary and the expansion of the Waterford treatment service. In addition, at the end of 2012 there were 17 GPs in the region providing Level 1 services for 61 clients addicted to opiates, and services were supported by 54 pharmacies.
The first needle exchange service in the south east was developed in 2011 in Waterford. In 2012
there were an additional four such services operating from fixed sites – in Carlow, Kilkenny, Wexford and South Tipperary. Ten pharmacies in the region also provided needle exchange services in 2012.
A total of 2,052 clients exited the services in 2012. More than one third (35%) of these clients completed treatment; 26% refused  further sessions or did not return for subsequent appointments; 18% withdrew as they considered themselves to be stable; 12% were transferred to another site for further treatment; 4% exited because of non-compliance; 4% exited for other reasons; and  0.5% had died.
The overview reports the most recent Garda data on drug offences published by the Central Statistics Office. The number of cases in the south east region in 2011 that gave rise to relevant proceedings were:  
  • ·         Importation, cultivation or manufacture of drugs – 63 cases
  • ·         Possession for sale of supply, or for personal use – 1,243 cases
  • ·         Forged or altered prescriptions, or obstruction – 32 cases


1. Kidd M (2013) Data co-ordination overview of drug misuse 2012. Waterford: HSE South. www.drugsandalcohol.ie/21262

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