Cork To Get New Cocaine Clinic

A cocaine treatment clinic is expected to open in Cork later this year.A cocaine treatment clinic is expected to open in Cork later this year.

Plans for the clinic have been revealed by the Health Service Executive (HSE) after the opening of a drop-in centre for recreational cocaine users was opened in Galway.

A second treatment clinic is planned for the Dublin area and will also open later this year.

A spokeswoman for the Health Service Executive (HSE) said: “The development of two stimulant cocaine clinics in Dublin and Cork are currently being scoped and costed with a view to commencing the service in 2007.”

The spokeswoman said the location of the clinic was not yet known.

Plans for the clinic follow the beginning of methadone treatment for heroin addicts in Cork this year.

And it comes as gardaí in north Cork continue to investigate the death of Pádraig O’Keeffe, aged 19, from Rathcormac, who is believed to have died after taking cocaine at a party.

The cocaine clinics were recommended by Government advisory agencies earlier this year.

A pilot phase will also be rolled out later this year for a national addiction training programme in the area of cocaine misuse.

HSE staff will be targeted first in the programme, followed with statutory, voluntary and community workers in the sector.

The HSE spokeswoman said that a document from the National Drug Strategy Team and the National Advisory Committee on Drugs on ways of addressing cocaine misuse in Ireland is currently being examined.

Deputy Michael McGrath, who recently carried out a cocaine use survey in Cork, said the new treatment centre would help stamp out drug use in the Cork area.

That survey showed that one in five 18 to 35-year-olds in Cork have used the drug. It also showed that one in three 18 to 35-year-olds in Cork have used cocaine or some other illegal drug.

He said: “Reports have shown that many cocaine users are put off by existing treatment clinics, which were heavily focused, particularly in Dublin, on treating heroin addicts. A drop-in cocaine service is already up and running in Galway and it’s proving popular.”

Deputy McGrath said: “We must expand the successful drug court programme and provide judges with the option of sentencing certain offenders to mandatory drug treatment programmes, in addition to prison.”

He said: “Gardaí should be encouraged to carry out searches at particular places, times and events where senior officers believe drugs exist.”