Home > Ana Liffey Drug Project (ALDP) strategic plan 2015–2017.

Pike, Brigid (2015) Ana Liffey Drug Project (ALDP) strategic plan 2015–2017. Drugnet Ireland, Issue 53, Spring 2015, p. 15.

PDF (Drugnet Ireland 53)

Unlike Ana Liffey’s previous strategic plan for 2012–2014, which was developed during a recession, its new strategic plan ‘resides in the more positive context of economic recovery’. So states Eddie Matthews, chair of ALDP, in his foreword to the new strategic plan for 2015–2017.1 ALDP is now introducing creative new approaches to targeting drug-related harm in Ireland, and seeking support specifically for:


  • low-threshold residential stabilisation services, and
  • medically-supervised injecting centres.


Ana Liffey, which works directly with over 2,500 people affected by addiction problems in Ireland every year, is seeking support to provide a suitable premises for a ‘low-threshold residential stabilisation’ service. This will provide treatment for drug users with multiple and complex needs which require immediate specialist support.


Tony Duffin, director of ALDP, says that with a suitable property, Ana Liffey could accommodate up to 20 people at a time on a pilot project to help them to stabilise, to stay off the streets as well as reducing the demands on other health services.  The operating costs for such a service would be approximately €1.5 million. He states that research shows that every euro spent on treatment can save countries up to €2.50 in other costs, through public health benefits and cutting crime.2


In addition to the stabilisation service, Ana Liffey is also seeking to establish in Dublin a medically-supervised injecting centre where an addicted person can inject themselves safely and away from the public’s gaze.3 According to Duffin, ‘They [medically-supervised injecting centres] are a very successful intervention, with over 90 centres in countries throughout the world. Not only do they contribute to reducing public injecting and unsafe disposal, they also help people attending to tackle their addictions through dedicated access to treatment programmes.’

Since 1982 ALDP has provided a ‘low-threshold harm reduction’ service to individuals who are experiencing problematic substance use and to their families. In recent years, it has established services in the Midlands and the Mid-West and it plans to expand its services to reach as wide a client base as possible across the country.According to ALDP, an average of one person dies from overdose in Ireland every day and people are using multiple substances in every town and city in Ireland.


In  ‘targeting harm’, ALDP’s rationale is that Ireland has limited resources to deal with problem drug use and needs to target the resources it does have towards evidence-informed interventions which have been shown to reduce the harm drug use causes to individuals, families and communities. Duffin comments, ‘Drug use has changed. There is more and more poly-drug use and an increasing number of complex cases. We need to accept, as a society, that it is not realistic to expect to be able to stop all drugs entering the country, or to be able to eliminate problem drug use.’ 


The strategic plan also embraces the changes in the regulatory landscape and the establishment of the Charities Regulatory Authority.


Noting that Ana Liffey provides valuable and helpful services to those who use drugs problematically, to their families and to the broader communities, chair Eddie Matthews sums up Ana Liffey’s approach:


[We work] through the prism of pragmatism. We neither condone nor condemn drug use. We are non-judgmental and client-centred, believing in the potential of every individual. We believe in the value of harm reduction. Our strategic plan includes a strong focus on working with government departments, NGOs, universities and other stakeholders to develop effective programmes, necessary legislation and sufficient funding to tackle drug addiction in this country.


  1. Ana Liffey Drug Project (2014) Targeting harm: the strategic plan of the Ana Liffey Drug Project 2015–2017. Dublin: Ana Liffey Drug Project. https://www.drugsandalcohol.ie/23173/
  2. In October 2014 Public Health England, an executive agency of the Department of Health, uploaded a document on its home page entitled Alcohol and drugs prevention, treatment and recovery: why invest? Among the benefits of investment, the document states that every £1 spent on drug treatment saves £2.50 on costs to society, through preventing an estimated 4.9m crimes every year and an estimated £960m costs to the public, businesses, criminal justice and the NHS (p. 27. http://www.nta.nhs.uk/uploads/why-invest-2014-alcohol-and-drugs.pdf The National Documentation Centre on Drug Use located this source.
  1. According to a report posted on Talking Drugs ( http://www.talkingdrugs.org/ ) on 26 February 2015, and reported on DrugScope Daily on 27 February 2015, the ALDP is working in collaboration with the Voluntary Assistance Scheme at the Bar Council of Ireland on legislation to make the opening of a medically-supervised injecting centre in Dublin possible. It is currently illegal under the Misuse of Drugs Act 977.
Item Type
Publication Type
Drug Type
All substances
Intervention Type
General / Comprehensive, Harm reduction
Issue Title
Issue 53, Spring 2015
March 2015
Page Range
p. 15
Health Research Board
Issue 53, Spring 2015

Repository Staff Only: item control page