COOLMINE THERAPEUTIC COMMUNITY, DUBLIN: A 40 YEAR HISTORY OF IRELAND’S FIRST VOLUNTARY DRUG TREATMENT SERVICE. BY SHANE BUTLER, SCHOOL OF SOCIAL WORK AND SOCIAL POLICY, TRINITY COLLEGE DUBLIN, SEPTEMBER 2015. 
AIM
To document the evolution over 40 years (from 1973 to 2013) of Coolmine Therapeutic Community (Ireland’s first voluntary drug treatment service) against a background of broader drug policy developments in the Republic of Ireland and elsewhere during this period.
METHODS
Data were gathered by means of archival research within Coolmine, complemented by semi-structured interviews with former clients, current and former Coolmine management and staff, and representatives of outsider stakeholder interests.
RESULTS
Coolmines’s history has three phases: (1) an early and uncontentious phase, in which external authorities provided financial support for Coolmine without questioning its work practices or outcomes; (2) a middle, controversial phase, in which Coolmine struggled for survival in an external policy environment now dominated by harm reduction strategies; and (3) a final phase in which, through the use of conventional
corporate governance, Coolmine management sought to repair its damaged reputation by introducing evidence-based clinical practices.
CONCLUSIONS
Coolmine Therapeutic Community was established when drug treatment services in Ireland were in their infancy, and its changing fortunes over subsequent decades reflected changing perceptions of what constitutes appropriate addiction treatment—and in particular the role to be played by former addicts within addiction treatment systems—as well as changing perceptions of funding relationships between statutory authorities and voluntary providers of health and social services.
FULL PAPER:
Coolmine Therapeutic Community Dublin a 40-year history of Irelands first voluntary treatment service

Emma Farrell

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