There has been an 122% increase in reported use of crack cocaine in Dublin over the last year
8,922 people were treated for problem drug use.
Research by Merchants Quay Ireland (MQI), the national homeless and addiction charity, has revealed that the latest drug treatment statistics show an ongoing addiction crisis in Ireland.
Merchants Quay Ireland are a leading Irish charity working with people who are homeless and in addiction.
The organisation provides services ranging from open access crisis intervention and health promotion services to day-support programmes, educational programmes, vocational training, residential treatment, detox and prison counselling.
The figures, published by the Health Research Board, show that there were 8,922 people treated for problematic drug use in 2017.
The figures show that opiates - particularly heroin - remain the most common drug reported among people seeking treatment. They also show a substantial increase in the number of people reporting cocaine as their primary drug.
Previous figures for 2011 showed that 6.2% of people being treated for drug use were homeless. This increased to 9.6% in 2017.
The HRB figures are mirrored in Merchants Quay Ireland’s own services, which saw a 122% increase in reported use of crack cocaine in Dublin over the last year, and a 67% increase at its Midlands service.
Responding to the statistics, Paula Byrne, Merchants Quay Ireland CEO has said: "Today’s figures lay out the scale of the addiction crisis in Ireland. We are seeing substantial increases in treatment for cocaine use, a trend reflected in Merchants Quay’s own services across Ireland.
“Since 2011, the proportion of people in drug treatment who are homeless has gone up by over 60%. It’s clear that Ireland's housing crisis is having a devastating effect. The Government must ensure that treatment is available for all those who need it, whatever the nature of their addiction and whatever their circumstance.”