Alcohol still our ‘drug of choice’

Alcohol still our ‘drug of choice’
Lord Mayor Cllr Des Cahill and Pat Coughlan, Chairman of Tabor Group, announcing the publication of Tabor Group’s Annual Report at Cork City Hall. Pic: John Allen

ALCOHOL remains the nation’s “drug of choice” according to a Cork-based organisation for people with addiction issues.

Seven out of every ten people seeking help from Tabor Group do so as a result of alcohol-relation problems, it has been revealed.

The figures were released this week as part of the organisation’s annual report. Last year, more than 300 people accessed treatment for addiction across the group’s three centres. Of these, 204 people accessed treatment at Tabor Lodge, a 28-day residential treatment facility. Some 73% of those admitted were battling alcohol-related problems. Pat Coughlan, chairman of Tabor Group, said it is still the drug of choice for the majority of addicts, but that they have also seen a rise in the use of heroin and cocaine and in those presenting with multiple addictions.

“The patterns that we have seen over the last number of years continued throughout 2016 with high numbers of clients presenting with poly-drug use and dual diagnosis of mental illnesses,” he said.

Mr Coughlan also noted technological advances play a huge part in modern day addiction.

“The typical alcoholic client who came to our services when we first opened our doors in 1989 is rare today. Our society has moved on and technology has become an enabler for addictions to a much broader population, of all ages,” he explained. “Online access to illicit drugs and gambling are having significant impacts on our most vulnerable citizens. However, alcohol still remains the most prominent drug in Ireland with devastating consequences throughout our society.”

In addition to alcohol issues, Fellowship House, Tabor Group’s Extended Treatment Centre for Men, has continued to see an increase in the use of cocaine and heroin among its residents. It has also reported a continued increase of 18 to 24-year-olds presenting for treatment. At Renewal Extended Treatment Centre for Women, addiction to alcohol alone is rarely seen and residents struggle with addictions to alcohol combined with ecstasy, cannabis, cocaine and various prescribed medication.

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