Story of HOPE in 2016

“Living in the flats in the 70s and 80s in town was great for me. I had many friends and still have, real decent people, I took part in all the games, talent shows and competitions that were going on. Drugs were around but I wasn’t interested and I knew very little about heroin, even though there was evidence of drugs being used on the stairs I never asked questions. My Ma was always there and my Da worked, when I look back I had a good childhood all the necessities were provided for. My Ma only had to look over the balcony to see if me and my other siblings were alright and if we needed her we just shouted, we were well minded. Life was good and I had dreams, I remember thinking I can’t wait to be 18 and travel the world.

I took an ecstasy tablet one night, this little tablet was a drug that led me to heroin, acid and crack. After hiding it for 2 years my family found out and tried to get me help. The methadone clinic was the answer. What should have only been a 3-month detox, turned out to be 25 years of running to clinics, doctors and chemists. I learned to shoplift and I sold drugs to keep my habit. At the age of 29 I nearly lost one limb through an abscess and stopped injecting heroin. I was still on methadone and made a promise I’ll get a job and sort myself out and I did get a job but I kept losing my jobs because I had to go the clinic for my methadone first. Eventually I became immune to the methadone and it no longer had any effect on me other than destroy my health and appearance. I turned to drink to help me cope with myself. I lived in regret and could not see a way out, I felt this was how it was I am drug addict and an alcoholic and I believed there was no way out.

When I first dropped into HOPE I never believed I could be helped, but I was broken and my way was not working. I didn’t want to die and most of all I wanted to be a mother who was there for her child before it was too late. Something as simple as a chat with staff who understood where I was at helped my mind set on my struggle to get clean and my self-worth. I took up their suggestions and a plan was put in place. With great effort and persistence from the staff in HOPE I got a bed in a treatment centre down the country. HOPE kept their word, “we’ll be here for you when you come home.” They were, they still are there for me and anyone who needs their help. After treatment HOPE guided me towards the ACRG (After Care Recovery Group), who helped me deal with life without drugs and find out who I really am, before helping me back into education.

I returned to education aged 45 and I am currently in college. I spend my evenings studying alongside my daughter who is in secondary school. I try to teach her to question everything and to think for herself. Drugs and drink robbed many years from my child and me, but not today. My recovery is everything and I am forever grateful to HOPE and the ACRG for reassuring me it is possible to get clean and be a productive member of my community. Being clean was a dream of mine but I did not get clean alone nor will I stay clean alone. I still need my supports for encouragement and advice and I use them. It has been 2 years and 7 months since I touched a drink or a drug, Thank God.”

HRB Factsheet January 2017 – Opiates: the Irish situation

Opiates: the Irish situation

January 2017

In common usage, the term ‘opiate’ tends to be understood as referring to all opiate/opioid drugs. To keep things simple, this Factsheet uses the term ‘opiate’ in this way.

What are opiates?

Opiates are derived from the dried milk of the opium poppy. Synthetic opiates are called opioids. Heroin is the most commonly used opioid. Methadone, which is used as a substitute drug in the treatment of heroin addiction, is also an opioid.

What do opiates do?

Opiates are sedative drugs that depress the nervous system. They induce feelings of relaxation and detachment in the user. The more often the drug is used the greater the quantity needed to produce the desired effect. Physical dependence often results from regular use and withdrawal can be very unpleasant. Opiates can be smoked, snorted or prepared for injection. Overdosing on an opiate can be fatal.

How do we know how many people use opiates in Ireland?

Surveys of random samples of the population can be used to estimate the total number of people who use specific drugs. However, opiate users are under-represented in population-based surveys, which are not designed to include people who do not normally live in private households (such as the homeless, hostel dwellers or prisoners).

Researchers in Ireland use a number of sources of information to estimate the number of opiate users in the population. These include:

  • The Central Treatment List (CTL), which is a register of the number of people who are receiving methadone or another opioid as a substitute drug treatment.
  • The Hospital In-Patient Enquiry (HIPE) scheme, which records details of people discharged from hospital, including their diagnosis.
  • The Garda information systems, which record details of drug-related crime.

How many people use opiates in Ireland?

There have been attempts in recent years to estimate the number of problem opiate users in Ireland using these overlapping sources. The first study estimated that 14,158 people were using heroin in 2001, a rate of 5.6 per 1,000 of the population. In 2006 the estimate was 20,790, a rate of 7.2 per 1,000. There are about 1.3 million opiate users in Europe.

How many people receive treatment for opiate use?

As of 31st August 2016 there were 9,652 patients receiving treatment for opiate use (excluding prisons).

The National Drug Treatment Reporting System (NDTRS) provides data on treated drug and alcohol misuse in Ireland.a A total of 16,587 cases entered treatment for problem drug or alcohol use in 2014, of whom 4,477 reported an opiate as their main problem drug. Of the 4,477 cases who reported an opiate as their main problem drug:

  • 943 were new cases.
  • 2,148 were resident in Dublin.
  • 2,955 were men.
  • 5 were under 18 years; 2,618 were aged 18–34.
  • 2,676 used opiates with other drugs.
  • 2,079 used an opiate daily, 640 used it between two and six days per week, 294 used it once per week or less, and 1,163 had not used it in the last month.ha
  • 1,737 injected, 2,059 smoked, 487 ate/drank and 5 sniffed/snorted opiates.

How many people die from using opiates?

The National Drug-Related Deaths Index (NDRDI) is a database which records cases of death by drug and alcohol poisoning, and deaths among drug users and those who are alcohol dependent. 354 people died from poisoning in 2014. Opiates were the main drug group implicated in poisoning deaths in Ireland in 2014. Methadone was implicated in more than a quarter of poisonings (98, 28%). The number of deaths where heroin was implicated increased to 90 in 2014 compared to 86 in 2013. This is the second year in succession that a rise in heroin deaths is reported.

One quarter (25%) of all poisoning deaths involved heroin. Of those who died where heroin was implicated:

  • 87% were male
  • 81% involved more than one drug
  • 48% were injecting at the time of the incident that led to their death
  • 46% lived outside Dublin (city and county)
  • 42% were not alone at the time of the incident that led to their death
  • 29% were homeless
  • 18% were recorded as being in addiction treatment at the time of their death.

Non-fatal overdoses and drug-related emergencies

According to the Hospital In-Patient Enquiry (HIPE) scheme, 4,233 cases of non-fatal overdose were discharged from Irish hospitals in 2013. There were 14% (587) positive findings for narcotic or hallucinogenic drugs in relation to these cases, of which 80% (468) were for an opiate.

What does the law say about opiates?

Heroin and other opiates are on the list of controlled drugs under the Misuse of Drugs Acts 1977 and 1984, and amending regulations. Under the legislation a person who has this controlled drug in their possession is guilty of an offence. You can find more information about Irish drug laws, offences and penalties on the Citizens Information Board website.

Seizure of opiates

Information on drugs and crime is published by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) and includes data on drug seizures made by Garda and Revenue Customs officers. The number of seizures of heroin rose from 690 in 2013 to 954 in 2014. There were 15 seizures of methadone in 2009, and 56 in

The Forensic Science Ireland (FSI) analyses drugs seized by the Garda. FSI prepare a quarterly report for the Garda and the data presented here are from the combined report for 2014. This tells us the number of cases involving drugs initiated by the Garda and gives a picture of the relative
frequency of the various types of illicit drugs seized. 954 cases were associated with seizures of diamorphine (heroin). There was a significant increase in the quantity of heroin seized; from just under 40 Kgs in 2014 to just under 62 Kgs in 2015 (just over 61 Kgs of heroin in 2013).

For more information on opiates please refer to the following sources:

  1. European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction.
  2. Kelly A, Teljeur C and Carvalho M (2009). Prevalence of opiate use in Ireland 2006: a 3-source capture-recapture study. Dublin: Stationery Office.
  3. European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (2014) European drug report 2014: trends and developments. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union.
  4. Health Service Executive (2017) Health service performance report August/September 2016. Dublin: Health Service Executive.
  5. Treatment data HRB National Drugs Library interactive tables.
  6. Health Research Board (2016) National Drug-Related Deaths Index 2004 to 2014 data. Dublin: Health Research Board.
  7. Health Research Board Irish National Focal Point to the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (2016) Ireland: national report for 2015 – harms and harm reduction.
  8. Irish National Focal Point to the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction. (2016) Ireland: national report for 2015 – drug markets and crime. Dublin: Health Research Board.
  9. An Garda Siochana (2016) An Garda Siochana: annual report 2015. An Garda Siochana, Dublin.


How to cite this factsheet:

HRB National Drugs Library (2017) Opiates: the Irish situation. HRB National Drugs Library, Dublin


Other Factsheets in this series:

Cocaine: the Irish situation
Alcohol: the Irish situation
Sedatives and tranquillisers: the Irish situation
Cannabis: the Irish situation

HRB National Drugs Library – Find the evidence

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  • Policy – Policy page & Dail debates
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  • Explanations of terms and acronyms – Glossary
  • Treatment data – Drug data link (or HRB publications)
  • Alcohol diary data
  • Search our collection – basic and advanced (you can save your results)

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Season’s greetings from everyone in HOPE

As the main event of this festive season draws nearer, we would like to take a moment to wish all of our clients, partners, sister organisations, family and friends a very merry Christmas and a very happy and prosperous new year. In 2016 there were a lot of people and organisations that have helped us help the communities of Dublin’s north inner city and for that, we would like to say thank you. In the year that marks the centenary of the Easter Rebellion of 1916, this is but one of the many events that will enshrine 2016 in all of our memories.

Dublin’s north inner city played host to numerous commemoration ceremonies on the run up to the centenary commemoration. Various community and state groups held many ceremonies in honour of those fought for the Irish Free State. With the local centenary celebrations underscored by the community deprivation and gangland feud killings, there was a scramble for change. Four of the local parishes came together in May and marched on the Home Monument for peace in the community. Government representatives met with community representatives in St. Laurence O’Toole national school to get an idea of issues facing the area. After the announcement of the community-based, government-led task force, the community came together to help each other in identifying issues and providing possible solutions to the new task force.   An Taoiseach Enda Kenny & Minister for Public Expenditure Pascal Donohoe paid a visit to some of the smaller projects in the area. On a wet rainy day in August, there was a community day. Thanks to support from Croke Park, An Garda Síochana, Dublin City Council, Our Lady of Lourdes Church, the Crinan Youth Project and The Fire Station Artist Studio and Urban Soul the NIC saw its first free – hopefully annual – community day. After consulting the public on the forthcoming national drugs strategy, Minister Byrne, tasked with delivering the new national drug strategy, paid a visit to a number of local projects to get a first-hand view of the issues faced by projects around the country.

As the year draws to a close, the weather gets colder and the need for compassion grows. With that in mind there a few special thanks we would like to make. Special thanks to Danny Cummins and his friends for their efforts for fundraising and collecting clothes for the homeless on the streets of Dublin. And to the Lotto and the Luas for supporting us with our client dinner. As well we would like to express special thanks to our friends in the Ripley Court Hotel for their endless efforts to support us support the community.

Lastly, we would like to say thank you to everyone for helping HOPE help the community. Without all of your help, we would not be able to do the job we do. ‘Ní neart go cur le cheile – there is no strength without unity’.

Merry Christmas from Everyone in H.O.P.E.


Deprivation of Dublin’s inner city

The prevalence of prescription drug-dealing and the severe lack of drug-free recovery centres in Dublin’s north inner city are some of the challenges facing the area, according to its community leaders.

“We held a community brainstorming session to inform the government taskforce that’s being set up to address the issues of deprivation in the north inner city,” addiction counsellor at Hope, Irene Crawley, told the Irish Examiner.

The session followed a visit by Taoiseach Enda Kenny to the area last week, where he promised that a taskforce for the north inner city would be established.

About 100 leaders including TDs, councillors, activists and volunteers, came together yesterday to discuss matters such as policing, housing, and addiction and recovery.

Long-time community activist and former Labour minister Joe Costello said there was one issue above all that plagued the north inner city.

“Mountjoy Prison is the biggest drug treatment facility in the country and there is no link-up when a prisoner comes out. It’s a nightmare,” he said.

“This is the issue that deserves the most immediate attention. There is a probation service there but there is nothing that connects the prison with clinics, services and local authorities.

“It’s all fragmented, there is no co-ordination.”


Meeting the Minister


H.O.P.E. would like to express a massive thanks to Minister for State, Catherine Byrne and her staff. Minister Byrne has been tasked with delivering the new national drug strategy. Catherine has taken it upon herself to visit the various projects that help people break free from addiction – a massive undertaking. It was great to discuss HOPE’s past, present, & future and our place under the new national drug strategy.

Local historian and archivist – Terry Fagan – seeking home for collection of local artefacts and memorabilia.

Our Terry Fagan – local historian and archivist – featured in an Irish Times article detailing his vast catalogue of historical memorabilia. Follow the link to the Irish Times site to read the full article.

Link to Irish Times Article 9th October 2016

Terry Fagan of the North Inner City Folklore Project with some of the items stored in a boarded up flat in Sean McDermott Street. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien
Terry Fagan of the North Inner City Folklore Project with some of the items stored in a boarded up flat in Sean McDermott Street. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien.
Behind the ugly, graffiti-festooned steel door to an abandoned flat in St Mary’s Mansions on Dublin’s Seán McDermott Street, there is an Aladdin’s Cave of artefacts and memorabilia.

The items that have been saved from tenement homes and from skips, or been donated by residents, and the stories they have told local folklorist Terry Fagan, amounts to a unique social history archive that is crying out for a proper home in the area.

“It needs to stay here,” says Fagan, a 66-year-old north inner city Dub, born in the long since demolished Corporation Buildings on the street of the same name, and now a resident of Buckingham Street.

Continue reading…

First Annual Community Day 2016

Unity in the Community 2016

Our Lady of Lourdes Church Volunteer playing games

Last Wednesday, 10th August 2016, HOPE played host to the North Inner City’s first annual Community Unity Day Our Lady of Lourdes Church on Sean McDermott Street. This was made possible through a financial contribution from the Croke Park community fund. This was truly a community event with many contributors. We would like to say a big thank you to Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Dublin City Council, An Garda Síochana, The Crinan Youth Project, The Fire Station Artist Studios, Urban Soul, The Home of the Elderly at Our Lady of Lourdes, and Foundation for a Drug-Free World. Without whom, the day’s success would not have been possible.

Crinan Youth Project playing games


The Firehouse Project Exhibition
The Firehouse Station Artist Studio
Urban Soul painting faces
Complimentary ice cream for all guests
Complimentary ice cream for all guests
Urban Soul teaching kids how to fly
Kids waiting for their turn on Urban Soul’s obstacle course
“I don’t like magic”
Magic Show in the Curch
Complimentary meal for all guests
Community Guests

WE are already counting down the days ’til next year’s event.

Facebook Photos

“North Inner City Dublin”

From Community Unity Day 2016. Posted by HOPE Hands On Peer Education on 8/11/2016 (52 items)

Generated by Facebook Photo Fetcher 2

A New HOPE for the community.

Last night the Taoiseach, Enda Kenny and the Minister for Public Expenditure, Pascal Donohoe, paid a visit to the HOPE project.

A new hope.

It was a very positive meeting and Enda & Pascal showed great interest in the community.

Enda and Pascal were very interested in the process of recovery. There was even talk of new recovery initiatives. We’re very excited.


All the boys were very excited to see our Enda.

It was a very exciting meeting. We feel very positive and are very excited for the community. We at HOPE would like to say a big thanks to Minister Donohoe and an Taoisigh for coming down to the project and talking


Pat Kenny Show Segment – Friday 3rd June 2016

In this segment, John Drennan joins Pat in discussing the North (east) Inner City. After a comprehensive survey of the area and some of the various non-profit organisations (The North Inner City Older Person’s GroupHands On Peer Education Ltd., and Terry Fagan’s North Inner City Folklore Project) that represent smaller groups within the community, Drennan highlights the high levels of social inequality suffered by the community.

The whole show can be listened to on the News Talk website, please find the link here.


Save the Date – Matt Talbot Recovery Month

We at HOPE towers are busy planning a wide variety of RECOVERY promoting events. The biggest, of course, being RECOVERY MONTH 2016! More information to follow, but for now please SAVE THE DATE!

August 2016 – Matt Talbot Recovery Month

SAVE THE DATE - Matt Talbot 2016
SAVE THE DATE – Matt Talbot 2016