Drug-related deaths in Ireland continue to soar

By Maurice Garvey

DRUG-related deaths continue to rise each year in Ireland with numbers higher than suicides and road traffic collisions put together.

According to data from National Drug Aware Death Index, in 2016 a total of 736 people died from drug-related deaths – 354 of those deaths were a direct result of an overdose.

Drug Overdose support compressor

Clondalkin Drugs and Alcohol Task Force team is raising awareness

Meanwhile, CSO figures indicated there were 437 deaths by suicide in 2016, while the Road Safety Authority said there was 146 fatalities on Irish roads in 2018.

“That’s why you get frustrated – people using are often seen to be lower than others,” said Tara Deacy, Prevention Officer with Clondalkin Drugs and Alcohol Task Force (CDATF).

Deacy, who was elected as a councillor for the Social Democrats in the Rathmines-Kimmage during her first run in a local election last May, says drug use still suffers from a negative perception.

She says drug-related deaths “are an issue in every constituency” and not confined to traditional working-class areas,

On Tuesday, CDATF, in partnership with advocacy group Service Users Developing Solidarity (SUDS), the HSE and Neart LeCheile, held an event in Neilstown to mark International Overdose Awareness Day (IOAD).

IOAD originated in Australia in 2001 and has grown into a global campaign, which aims to raise awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma of a drug-related death.

It also provides an opportunity to stimulate discussion about evidence-based overdose prevention and drug policies.

Two out of every three drug-related deaths in Ireland occurred in Dublin, with 85 per cent of those involving opiates.

Clondalkin outreach services on Tuesday looked at how people who use drugs can learn to administer Naloxone – considered a safe medication – in the case of an overdose.

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