The proposed centre would cater for mothers and pregnant women like the same organisation's Ashleigh House in Dublin, pictured
THE GOVERNMENT has been urged to foot a €1.6m bill for a new drug treatment centre for women in Limerick due a surge in demand in the Mid-West region.
Coolmine, a national drug and alcohol treatment centre, wants to establish a residential treatment facility in Limerick city, which will welcome pregnant women and mothers with their children.
They operate Ashleigh House, a high risk family service in Dublin, and intend to establish a similar facility here in Limerick.
“Ashleigh House is currently the only residential treatment facility in Ireland that welcomes pregnant women who are experiencing addiction and allows mothers who are experiencing addiction to live with their children,” said Coolmine’s communication officer, Lucy Hayes.
“We have seen that one of the most significant barriers for women to access addiction treatment, is the fear that they will lose or be separated from their children,” she added.
According to Ms Hayes, this can leave women in high risk situations such as homelessness.
“Mothers can feel assured that they know where their child is and that their child is being looked after in a safe and nurturing environment and can fully focus on their recovery and relationship with their child.”
Ashleigh House caters for 24 people at any one time. According to Coolmine, an average of 64 women a day have sought residential addiction treatment so far in 2019.
“Of these, 30% were from the Mid-West and 80% are mothers. That’s why it is so important we set up another centre to deal with the demand from the Mid-West,” said Ms Hayes.
“We are calling on the government and state agencies, HSE, Tusla, and the probation service, to commit €1.6m to put in place a second residential treatment centre for high risk families in Limerick,” she added.
According to Ms Hayes, this service would deliver 40 additional high risk family placements nationally and employ 32 staff. It will tackle issues such as heroin, cocaine, and crack cocaine addiction.
“It would be the first of its kind in Limerick and the second of its kind in the country. It will enable women to access the programme locally. It will create pathways to long-term recovery and remove women and children from high-risk situations.”