The service is free and confidential and will help bridge the gap until a patient is able to access HSE services
A NEW support service aimed at people with addiction issues is now operating on a free and confidential basis every Monday in Newcastle West.
The service, Addiction Awareness Services has been set up by Patrick Donovan, from Castlemahon, who is an accredited addiction counsellor. It is a walk-in service and is free and run by Patrick on a voluntary basis and is open every Monday from 10am to 4pm at the Desmond Complex.
The objective is to provide community-based support for people experiencing problems with addiction and also to provide awareness and support for the families of people addicted.
It was the lack of easily accessible services which prompted his decision to set this one up.
“If you have an issue with addiction in West Limerick whether it’s alcohol, drugs, gambling, sex or pornography, where do you go?”, he asked. “You would probably go to your doctor who would refer you to the HSE but it could be six or eight weeks or longer before you could get an appointment with an addiction counsellor.”
If that doctor was able to refer to a service like he is trying to provide, Patrick continued, the person would be able to sit down and talk with the counsellor, find out what is going on, and “hold that space until they can get to Cuan Mhuire or Bushy Park or Talbot Grove or wherever” so they can address their issues on a more long-term basis.
“It is a support service that will support somebody in addiction,” Patrick explains.
“It will also support a family member worried about somebody in addiction where they can get a bit of knowledge around the issues.”
People have availed of the service, both family members and people caught in addiction. People can drop in or they can make an appointment. Patrick also has a phone number which people have rung to get information rather than on a face-to-face basis.
“There is stigma around addiction and asking people for help,” he says. “To have an understanding of the addiction, the person must be willing to have an understanding of themselves. No one can take the fight on for an addict.”
What he offers through the Monday service, he says, is support pre-treatment. But it is also support after treatment.
“To maintain sobriety or to stay clean, the support is vital,” Patrick says. “People who go through rehab are learning about themselves. They then have to take that self out to the environment where they left their old self. To adjust, to be willing to bring what they have learned from the treatment out into the world, that can be very difficult.
“It is especially difficult for somebody living alone, or for somebody who might have lost their family through their addiction or lost their job through addiction.”
To make contact with Patrick, you can ring 089 2055660, email firstname.lastname@example.org or drop in to the Desmond Complex between 10am and 4pm on Mondays.