Press Release

“Addiction in Ireland is at crisis point” – Merchants Quay Ireland responds to latest drug-related death statistics

“Addiction in Ireland is at crisis point” – Merchants Quay Ireland responds to latest drug-related death statistics

Merchants Quay Ireland (MQI) has today said that addiction in Ireland is at crisis point. The charity made the call following the release of the 2017 drug-related death statistics by the Health Research Board.

The statistics show that 786 people died from drug-related causes in 2017, more than two people a day and an increase of 24% on 2008 figures. The statistics also show that:

  • 376 people died from overdose in 2017, increased from 368 in 2016
  • 410 people using drugs died from medical causes or trauma in 2017, increased from 404 in 2016
  • 41% of people who were injecting at the time of their death were in Dublin City
  • Cocaine poisoning deaths increased by 26% compared to 2016
  • 67% (253 people) of poisoning deaths involved prescribable drugs

Responding to the statistics, Merchants Quay Ireland Chief Executive Paula Byrne said

“It is clear from today’s report that addiction in Ireland is at crisis point.

“Two people a day die from a drug-related cause, and there are deeply worrying increases in the harm caused by cocaine and by prescribable drugs.  A 56% increase in the number of deaths by hanging clearly demonstrates the appalling mental health impact of addiction.

“Addiction is reaching into cities, towns, and villages across Ireland. Yet people are suffering in silence, and that silence is costing lives. Ireland needs to start talking openly and honestly about addiction.

“Behind all of these figures is the immense tragedy of a partner, parent or child lost to addiction. We need more compassion, more understanding, and more support for both people in addiction and for their families. In light of today’s sobering statistics, we hope that people will support the Medically Supervised Injecting Facility and work with us to reduce the scale of this tragedy.”


For more information, please contact:

Tom Sheppard
Communications Co-ordinator
Merchants Quay Ireland
T: 01 531 2958
M: 086 7793 206

Twitter: @MerchantsQuayIR

 Notes to the Editor

About Merchants Quay Ireland

Merchants Quay Ireland is a leading Irish charity working with people who are homeless and in addiction. The organisation provides services ranging from open access crisis intervention and health promotion services to day-support programmes, educational programmes, vocational training, residential treatment, detox and prison counselling.

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