THE NUMBER of people turning to drug misuse services in Carlow is on the up.
According to figures released in the HSE's Overview of Drug Misuse report on last year the numbers seeking treatment in Carlow is on the rise and alcohol continues to be the main problem, followed by heroin and cannabis.
Unlike the regional figures, where the majority of clients discharged had completed their treatment, the main outcome for Carlow clients was that they refused to have further sessions or did not return for subsequent appointments.
The report gives a breakdown of alcohol and drug misuse based on data collected, collated and reported on from various statutory, voluntary and community agencies involved with substance misuse in the South East.
Some people contacted the gardaí, others St Luke's Hospital, but the majority in Carlow, 420 people, contacted local addiction treatment services concerned about drug and alcohol misuse. This was a jump of 46 on the previous year.
In total there were 467 treatment episodes at Carlow services in 2011, including assessments, referrals and those treated at least once during the year.
The majority of people treated for drug misuse in Carlow were aged 18 to 24 years and 72% of those treated were males. 90% of those treated in Carlow last year were living in stable accommodation while out of the 352 treated at local addiction centres, three quarters, 260 people, were unemployed compared to Kilkenny where just over half were unemployed. Only 8%, 30 people, in Carlow were in paid employment while the others were students, on Fás courses, husbands, housewives or unemployed.
Most people referred themselves to the service, while the second largest number of referrals were by the mental health services and then the GP.
Alcohol was the main problem for which both Carlow and Kilkenny clients attended treatment services in 2011 at 176 individuals (50%) and 195 individuals (60%) respectively. This was followed by treatment for a heroin problem at 102 individuals (29%) of Carlow clients. Cannabis was the third main problematic substance for which both Carlow and Kilkenny clients were treated in 2011, at 60 individuals (17%) and 46 individuals (14%) respectively. Clients being treated for problematic cocaine use accounted for nine (3%) Carlow clients and 13 (4%) Kilkenny clients.
Carlow clients seeking treatment for an alcohol problem increased between 2010 and 2011 by 46 individuals (35%). Treatment for heroin as one of the main problematic substance decreased by nine individuals (8%). Carlow clients treated with a main problem of cannabis increased from 58 individuals in 2010 to 60 individuals in 2011, an increase of two individuals (3%). Cocaine decreased as a main problematic substance for Carlow clients between the two years by six individuals (40%).
As in previous years, the majority of clients had never injected, 283 individuals (80%) of Carlow clients had not while 69 individuals (19%) of Carlow clients had injected at some point in their lives. This is an increase of three individuals (5%) on 2010 figures.