Irish Times (05.28.2013)
Merchants Quay Ireland and Ana Liffey Drug Project, nonprofit organizations that provide services to people with addiction issues, reported that most addicts now used several different drugs, which meant that single-drug detoxification programs did not match addicts’ needs. A survey of 388 needle program clients indicated two-thirds used multiple drugs during the past month: 30 percent used two drugs; 25 percent used three drugs; 12 percent used four drugs; and 2 percent used five drugs. The drugs used most often included heroin (86 percent), prescribed methadone (49 percent), benzodiazepines (34 percent), cannabis (24 percent), alcohol (22 percent), and cocaine (6 percent).
The report recommended “supervised injecting” centers similar to models in Sydney and Madrid to lower the risk of HIV and hepatitis C. The survey indicated that 45 percent of Ana Liffey Drug Project and Merchants Quay clients had hepatitis C. Twenty-seven percent of survey respondents stated they shared syringes, which increased the risk of hepatitis C and HIV transmission.
Merchants Quay Ireland Chief Executive Officer Tony Geoghegan recommended developing polydrug detoxification regimens and increasing testing for hepatitis C and “other blood-borne” viruses to reduce the spread of the viruses and improve the health of the clients.