Tallaght drug services face New Year’s Eve closure

Two projects support users of crack cocaine, and will run out of funds by December 31st

Tallaght Drugs and Alcohol Task Force co-ordinator Grace Hill: ‘The supports which Jadd and Carp are providing are essential to keeping people alive.’ Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Tallaght Drugs and Alcohol Task Force co-ordinator Grace Hill: ‘The supports which Jadd and Carp are providing are essential to keeping people alive.’ Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

 

Two Tallaght community drugs projects, which support users of crack cocaine, will be forced to shut down on New Year’s Eve if Government funding is not urgently provided, according to a local drugs task force.

Tallaght Drug and Alcohol Task Force said the outreach projects in Jobstown and Killinarden provided vital support to people using crack cocaine, some of whom are homeless.

The services provided by Jobstown Assisting Drug Dependency (Jadd) and the Community Addiction Response Programme (Carp) in Killinarden, which works specifically with women who are addicted to crack cocaine, need €190,000 to continue operating, the task force said.

They will run out of money on December 31st, and have yet to receive a Government commitment to future funding.

“The supports which Jadd and Carp are providing are essential to keeping people alive. Our staff at Jadd and Carp are meeting people where they are at with hot food, information, and clean equipment to reduce the risk of infection,” task force co-ordinator Grace Hill said.

“The essential supports being offered by both services are in response to a public health crisis. Without this support, many people are at serious risk. It is literally a matter of life and death.”

‘Crack houses’

There are at least 100 “crack houses” in Tallaght, according to a report published by the task force last month, where smoking, injecting, selling and manufacturing of the highly addictive drug is occurring. Some “may have young children living in them”, the report said.

Since September project workers in Jobstown have been visiting crack cocaine addicts twice a week with food supplies and clean equipment. Many of them are extremely vulnerable and at high risk, Ms Hill said.

“Jadd have been going out to find people because they discovered that a growing number of those addicted to crack cocaine are just not physically able to come to their centre for help to treat their addiction. Crack cocaine causes such chaos and devastation in people’s lives that they often have no food in their homes, and some have become homeless and are living on the street. For every one person we meet we estimate there are four more needing help,” she said.

Despite several appeals to the Government, no commitment to funding has been forthcoming, she said.

The Department of Health did not respond to requests for comment on Monday.

The Tallaght task force is one of 14 local drugs task forces set up in 1997 to facilitate a more effective response to the issue of substance misuse and oversee the local implementation of the Government’s National Drugs Strategy.

The report, “The landscape of substance misuse and its impact on the communities of Tallaght’s Drugs and Alcohol Task Force”, claims 10 per cent of west Tallaght residents are actively looking to move out of the area due to the drug crisis.

It details an 18 per cent increase in referrals for crack cocaine addiction between 2019 and last year.