New anti-drugs unit in Limerick for under-18s

Anne Sheridan

Reporter:

Anne Sheridan

A NEW community substance misuse team has been set up in the city to help divert teenagers away from a “a life of drug misuse and misery”.

A NEW community substance misuse team has been set up in the city to help divert teenagers away from a “a life of drug misuse and misery”.

The new unit for the Mid-West region was launched this week in Theatre Court, Lower Mallow Street, in the city by Labour Minister of State Jan O’Sullivan.

Minister O’Sullivan said the new centre, which will have a core staff of five, will be a “very positive development” for the region.

“Certainly my experience of that age group is that they don’t know what to do if they need help, and people perceive there’s long waiting lists for such services. But this is free and is very accessible,” she said.

Among the services provided to teenagers and their families include one-to-one support, specifically tailored programmes to suit their needs, as well as life skills, personal development, educational programmes, and relationship building.

Mick Lacey, chairperson of the Regional Drug Task Force, spoke of the hard work over the last number of years on behalf of the CSMT sub group and the Regional Drug Task Force. Project manager Maria Finn described the new service as “a positive step in trying to address the long term impact of substance misuse and the subsequent consequences experienced by families and young people in the the Mid-West region”.

Sinn Fein city councillor Maurice Quinlivan, who is a member of the coordinating group, said it’s “an important event in the fight against drug misuse in Limerick”.

“We have the opportunity to make an intervention and hopefully have possible positive outcomes with young people and try to make a difference to them and their families. We can now help and hopefully divert young people from a possible life of drug misuse and misery. I am very hopeful now that this team is finally established after years of planning and hard work that it will have a positive effect on those affected by substance misuse.

“Limerick is experiencing a serious drugs problems and the misuse of heroin is a major problem across the city. Whilst at times it seems we are making no impact in the fight against illegal drug use, today however is a good day in that fight,” he said.

They will have a number of locally-based clinics in county Clare, North Tipperary, county Limerick in addition to their central service in Mallow Street.