Home > The opiate epidemic in Dublin 1979-1983.

Dean, Geoffrey and O'Hare, Aileen and O'Connor, Aideen and Kelly, Michael G and Kelly, Grainne (1985) The opiate epidemic in Dublin 1979-1983. Irish Medical Journal, 78, (4), pp. 107-110.

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In order to study the problem of heroin abuse in Dublin the Medico-Social Research Board and the National Drug Advisory Centre (Jervis Street Drug Centre) collaborated on a study of some of the characteristics of patients who had received treatment at the centre during the five-year period 1979-1983 inclusive. Jervis Street has been in existence since 1970 and provides confidential and free treatment.

The following information was abstracted from patients' records for the years 1979-1983. During those years a total of 2,057 patients made first contact with the Jervis Street Drug Centre. Of those, 1,440 attended because of the abuse of opiates, primarily heroin with the numbers of males exceeding the number of females by three to one for the years of the study. The number of attenders increased during these five years from 294 in 1979 to 1,314 in 1983. This trend confirms the fears of an alarming increase in the abuse of opiates in Dublin since 1979. There is also a trend towards younger age of attenders over the five years.

In comparison between heroin users and an age and sex standardised control population in north central Dublin, the heroin users were less likely to socialise, were less influenced by family and had a much poorer educational and employment record. They were also more likely to smoke and smoke heavily and less likely to drink. However they were also more likely to have been arrested for a variety of offences and to have lost one or both parents through death than their counterparts in the control group. Dublin north and south inner city has seen the greatest increase in drug abuse in the five-year period, however the spread across all areas of the city proves the problem is by no means confined to the inner city region.

Item Type
Publication Type
Irish-related, Open Access, Article
Drug Type
April 1985
Call No
BL2,, PD6.4, VH4.2 Dublin
Page Range
pp. 107-110
Irish Medical Organisation
Accession Number
HRB 265 (Available)
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