More than 40 Cork pharmacies registered with opioid substitution programme

HSE Head of Drugs And Alcohol Services in Cork and Kerry David Lane said there have been significant developments in Cork’s war against heroin
More than 40 Cork pharmacies registered with opioid substitution programme

Opioid substitution therapy (OST) offers people who are dependent on heroin and other opioids an alternative, prescribed medicine, in a supervised setting and can be effective in reducing injecting drug use and HIV infection.

A TOTAL of 41 local pharmacies are now registered with an opioid substitution programme as the HSE battles to control heroin use across Cork city and county.

Opioid substitution therapy (OST) offers people who are dependent on heroin and other opioids an alternative, prescribed medicine, in a supervised setting and can be effective in reducing injecting drug use and HIV infection.

HSE Head of Drugs And Alcohol Services in Cork and Kerry David Lane said there have been significant developments in Cork’s war against heroin and other opioid drugs. He also stressed the importance of providing as many opportunities as possible to people in need of opioid substitution treatment across the city.

“We are not going to have significant numbers presenting for one particular programme based on the challenge this has presented for pharmacists and local communities.

“Earlier on, we learned through some of the Dublin clinics about the potential for ghettoisation of people struggling with addictions. We wanted to take a different approach to the dispensing of methadone in Cork and Kerry and the recruitment of community-based pharmacists was a very important element of that.”

In some pharmacies there might be just one single person availing of the treatment,” he said.

“Other pharmacies will have a few more who might be going one or a few times a week depending on how stable they are in terms of their recovery programme.”

He referred to community-based needle exchanges which offer those struggling with addictions the opportunity to avail of sterile injecting equipment as well as referring patients to the relevant services.

HSE Head of Drugs And Alcohol Services in Cork and Kerry, David Lane
HSE Head of Drugs And Alcohol Services in Cork and Kerry, David Lane

“We have been doing a lot of work, particularly when it comes to injection drug use,” Mr Lane said.

“It’s important that supports are out there for people who are out and injecting in public areas. They may be chaotic in terms of their drug use and not engaging with treatment services.

“For this reason, we have two full- time needle exchange workers now supporting people to access treatment and consider taking steps to get into recovery.

“That’s been a huge success for us over the last number of years,” said Mr Lane.

Mr Lane underlined the ongoing supports for people struggling with the emotional impact of addictions.

“We are recruiting a lead for the Smart Recovery Programme. This has been something we have been developing for the last number of years.

“The idea is not to just help with supports relating to addiction but also around drug-related intimidation.

“There is a lot of work being implemented to provide supports for people who are struggling with drug- related debts and experiencing intimidation as a result of that.

“There have been a couple of briefing sessions in Cork and Kerry examining how things have progressed around this particular issue,” said Mr Lane.

He stressed that there is hope for people engaging with services.

“There are people who may have got in trouble because of an addiction but we want people to keep in mind that there is hope.

“There are also many people out there who are more than happy to offer support for those in recovery,” he said.

He also acknowledged the role of local GPS in supporting those with heroin and opioid-based addictions.

“Level 1 GPs take people for where they are at and look at getting stability in their lives

“This is a person who may be rough sleeping or who might be contemplating stepping into the methadone programme for the first time. These GPs are the centrepoint in terms of that response and initially support people in gaining more stability.”

More in this section

Sponsored Content

Echo 130Echo 130
EL_music

Podcast: 1000 Cork songs 
Singer/songwriter Jimmy Crowley talks to John Dolan

Listen Here

Add Echolive.ie to your home screen - easy access to Cork news, views, sport and more