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Widespread need for detox and rehab services - report

HALF of those accessing the residential services of Merchants Quay Ireland (MQI) for drug addiction are from outside the capital.

There has also been an increase of 34pc in people using its Midlands Harm Reduction Outreach Service.

In its annual 2013 review, which is being launched today by Lord Mayor of Dublin Christy Burke, MQI highlighted a continued growth in homelessness and drug use - despite the improving economic situation - and not just in Dublin.

The review also highlighted an increase in drug use outside the capital and MQI's Midlands Harm Reduction Outreach Centre recorded 3,264 visits to its service, an increase of 34pc on the previous year.

It was a similar story at MQI's residential services, where there was a marked increase in the numbers accessing help that were not from Dublin.

MQI chief executive Tony Geoghegan said the review highlighted the need for more services outside of Dublin.

Services

Last year, 58pc of people admitted to the St Francis Farm Detox Unit in Tullow, Co Carlow came from outside Dublin and almost half or 48pc of those accessing its drug-free rehabilitations services at High Park, Drumcondra were from outside the Dublin region.

Mr Geoghegan said the figures highlighted a real need for detox and rehab facilities across Ireland.

Last year, Merchants Quay provided over 85,000 meals to homeless people, an increase of 11pc on 2012.

Similarly, its primary healthcare services dealt with over 4,500 clients, up 35pc on the previous year.

Over 3,260 people availed of the needle-exchange programme last year, of which 614 were new service users, representing a 10pc increase.

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Mr Geoghegan said the improving economic situation hadn't filtered down to those most in need and it was totally unacceptable that up to 150 people were sleeping rough on Dublin's streets every night.

"In fact, conversely, as the economy recovers, it has placed increased pressure on the over-priced rental market and is trapping more and more people in homelessness," said Mr Geoghegan.

He called on the Government to honour its commitment to social justice ahead of the Budget.


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