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'Send our alcoholics to Thailand for detox'

THE HSE should send drug and alcohol addicts to cheap detox centres in Thailand instead of costly €240-a-night clinics here, says the author of a new book on addiction recovery.

Dubliner Paul Garrigan (40), author of Dead Drunk: Saving Myself From Alcoholism In A Thai Monastery, has criticised the HSE for spending cash on detox facilities in Ireland when there are free clinics in Thailand.

The HSE will spend over €100m on all areas of addiction services this year, and a portion of this will be spent on residential addiction recovery centres in Ireland.

But Mr Garrigan, from Sallynoggin, says he completely recovered in Thamkrabok, a temple in Thailand in 2006, after a 20-year battle with alcoholism and attending Alcoholics Anonymous and dry residential clinics.

He told the Herald he intends to ask the HSE to consider giving addicts who want to recover the option of attending temples in Thailand.

"The whole thing [in Thailand] costs €1,000 to get there, or there are cheaper flights," he said, adding that the temple gave him the means to detox for life.


Garrigan found the coaching by the monks to be more effective than clinics over here.

"They more or less said in the temple that if you come here you'll get better, and that was the first time I had ever heard it that simple. The monks promised that if you keep your vow, your life will get better."

An HSE spokesperson said it had not considered sending addicts to Thailand for recovery.