Drug-related deaths increase by one third in ten years

“Addiction is destroying the physical and mental health of people, people are dying, and this sadly has become the norm.”

Merchants Quay Ireland (MQI), the national homeless and addiction charity, has today said the latest drug-related deaths statistics highlight the urgent need for greater investment in services for people in addiction.

The statistics, published today by the Health Research Board, showed that 736 drug-related deaths occurred in 2016, representing a 33% increase since 2006.

Responding to the publication of the statistics, Merchants Quay Ireland CEO Paula Byrne said:

“To have more than two people a day die from drug-related causes is a tragic reflection of a country failing some of its most vulnerable citizens. We are seeing more and more people in addiction left behind, and the longer we leave people in addiction, the more likely their mental health and drug use will worsen.

“In MQI services, we have seen a 33% increase in people accessing our mental health services and a 55% increase in people accessing our primary healthcare services.

“Addiction is destroying the physical and mental health of people, people are dying, and this sadly has become the norm. We must ask ourselves, as a society, are we okay with over 700 drug-related deaths?

“There needs to be a greater investment in support services for people in addiction. We need more rehabilitation and detox beds, greater access to Naloxone and more supported accommodation so that we can continue to keep people in recovery. We therefore welcome Minister Catherine Byrne’s recent commitment to allocate additional funding towards the National Drugs Strategy.”

In concluding remarks, Paula Byrne said:

“The Medically Supervised Injecting Facility is one part of a wider solution in preventing drug-related deaths, but to fully address the addiction crisis in Ireland, the Government needs to deliver on its commitment and fully implement the National Drugs Strategy.”


For more information, please contact:

Andrew Rooney
Communications Officer
Merchants Quay Ireland
T: 01 531 2958
M: 086 7793 208
Email: andrew.rooney@mqi.ie

Website: www.mqi.ie
Facebook: www.facebook.com/MerchantsQuayIR
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. www.mqi.ie.

To find out more about Merchants Quay Ireland’s work, please see our newly released short film: https://youtu.be/8SkkmxdtLyE.

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