Two Tallaght projects tackling crack cocaine use to close today

New funding does not cover the services for drug users in Jobstown and Killinarden, says task force

A report claims there are at least 100 ‘crack houses’ in Tallaght,  where smoking, injecting, selling and manufacturing of the highly-addictive drug is occurring.  Photograph: Getty Images

A report claims there are at least 100 ‘crack houses’ in Tallaght, where smoking, injecting, selling and manufacturing of the highly-addictive drug is occurring. Photograph: Getty Images

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Government funding announced for community drug and alcohol services will not save two Tallaght projects targeting crack cocaine use from closure on New Year’s Eve, a local drug task force has said.

Earlier this week the Tallaght Drug and Alcohol Task Force (DAFT) said vital services for users of crack cocaine provided by outreach projects in Jobstown and Killinarden would have to be withdrawn by the end of the year due to lack of funding.

The services provided by Jobstown Assisting Drug Dependency (Jadd) and the Community Addiction Response Programme (Carp) Killinarden need €190,000 to continue operating, the task force said.

In a statement the Department of Health said a €2 million national fund “to enhance community-based drug and alcohol services” for 2022 was announced last week. The fund would be divided among nine community healthcare organisations (CHOs), it said.

“CHO 7, where Tallaght DAFT is located, will receive €240,000 of this funding. The type of services will be determined by population needs,” the department said. “Tallaght DAFT will play a key role in identifying and commissioning new services that respond to the unmet needs of people who use drugs and alcohol in CHO 7.”

The CHO 7 area which includes Tallaght also encompasses Kildare/west Wicklow, Dublin west, Dublin south city and Dublin southwest.

In addition, the department said €500,000 had been allocated in Budget 2022 to address high-risk drug use, such as crack cocaine and other drugs. “Details of measures to address high-risk drug use will be announced in January 2022.”

National fund

However, Grace Hill, co-ordinator of the Tallaght task force, said the €240,000 local funding had not been allocated for crack cocaine projects, and there was no indication of what funding the Tallaght groups would receive from the €500,000 national fund.

“While the funding is good news it does not provide the answer to the problem of funding for these two crack cocaine initiatives,” she said.

“We have continuously – and particularly since November – impressed upon the department the urgency of this situation, but as of today the work of these services in relation to crack cocaine is not funded from January 1st.”

A report published by the task force in November details an 18 per cent increase in referrals for crack cocaine addiction between 2019 and last year.

There are at least 100 “crack houses” in Tallaght, according to the report, 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.

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.