Cocaine addiction on the rise in Cork, says treatment centre 

Cocaine has surpassed cannabis as the second most common problem drug among its clients in Cork.
Cocaine addiction on the rise in Cork, says treatment centre 

Treatment data for last year showed a “tipping point in Irish addiction trends”, with cocaine overtaking heroin as the number one problem drug in cases reported to the HRB and the most common drug in new cases.

COCAINE addiction is on the rise in Cork, according to a leading addiction treatment centre.

Tabor Group is reporting a “pattern of increased cocaine use” and says that cocaine has surpassed cannabis as the second most common problem drug among its clients in Cork.

A recent report by the Health Research Board (HRB) showed that treatment for problem cocaine use has tripled since 2015.

Treatment data for last year showed a “tipping point in Irish addiction trends”, with cocaine overtaking heroin as the number one problem drug in cases reported to the HRB and the most common drug in new cases.

Tabor Group clinical director Mick Devine said that the uptick in cocaine use reported by the HRB is “definitely” reflected on the ground in Cork.

“The HRB reports a threefold increase in the number of people with cocaine problems,” said Mr Devine. “We would certainly see an increase in the number of people presenting who say that cocaine is part of the problem.”

Warning signs 

The Tabor Group’s annual report for 2021 shows that while alcohol remains the main source of addiction problems in Cork, half of the clients said they have issues with both alcohol and drugs.

Mr Devine said that in recent years, cocaine is becoming more and more readily available, and more and more people are coming to them after their use gets “out of control”, and “a real crisis hits”, such as being thrown out of home, a business crashing, or facing legal trouble.

He said that the most basic warning sign that a person has a problem with cocaine, or any addiction, is if cocaine causes problems in their life, but they can’t stop themselves from using it.

“Those problems might be that you’re spending more money on it than you can afford, it’s starting to impact on relationships, or the kind of behaviour that happens when you’re under the influence of cocaine,” he said.

“If you’re secretive about your cocaine use and don’t want people to know the full extent of it, if you’re spending a lot of time using cocaine, using it on your own, or seeking out people who aren’t in your friend group to use cocaine with — they’re all indicating that the cocaine is beginning to exert harmful influence on the person, and they should, at that point, reach out and ask for help,” he added.

Treatment for cocaine addiction 

Tabor Group is one of Ireland’s leading addiction treatment centres, providing residential and community-based treatment programmes to adults struggling with addiction to alcohol, drugs, and gambling.

The Cork-based group has two residential treatment centres, Tabor Lodge in Belgooly and the Tabor Fellowship in Spur Hill.

Mr Devine said that treatment for cocaine addiction is unlike that for other drugs because there is no substitute to help people with dependencies, as there is for heroin and other opioids with methadone.

He said that talking therapies, counselling, and supports have been proven to work with cocaine addiction, and are all offered by Tabor Group.

Support for families

He also emphasised that the group offers separate support for families and friends, and people should not be afraid to reach out for help when supporting a loved one through addiction.

“For every person who comes to us for help, there is a family usually struggling with extreme levels of stress, trying to control it, or contain it, or hide it,” he said.

“Sometimes the person themselves who has the drug problem won’t reach out for help — that shouldn’t stop the family reaching out for help independently, with their own mental and physical health.”

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