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Coolmine records a 35% rise in clients supported so far in 2023

15th September 2023Coolmine, the national drug and alcohol treatment charity, has today launched a new four-year strategy aiming to grow its capacity by 20% by 2026. Coolmine has noted a significant increase in demand for its services as trends show a significant increase in problem drug use, particularly with cocaine, in recent years. The strategy will support the charity’s fundraising efforts to continue its work supporting clients on their journey to recovery.

In the first six months of 2023, Coolmine noted an increase in demand for its residential treatment programmes across all of its 15 service centres and 22 satellite offices. Over 1,500 individuals were supported by Coolmine in the first 6 months of 2023. This represents a 35% increase on the same period 2022. 

Cocaine and alcohol were identified as the two most prevalent problem drugs for clients seeking treatment. This year we have seen a 19% increase in individuals presenting for problem cocaine use. 

This represents a shift from last year when heroin was visible as the main problem drug affecting those entering treatment with 37.5% of clients suffering from heroin addiction (currently at 15%). Cocaine is now the main presenting drug among the Traveller community with 36% of Travelling community clients seeking assistance with cocaine addiction.

Against the backdrop of a deepening drugs crisis and with the Citizens’ Assembly on Drugs due to report its recommendations shortly, Coolmine is urging all stakeholders to act quickly and urgently to roll out robust health-based treatment programmes to prevent the drugs crisis worsening. 

Speaking at the launch of Coolmine’s strategy at the mother and child residential centre in Limerick, Pauline McKeown, CEO of Coolmine said now is the opportunity to turn the dial and understand how best to respond.

‘We’re at a potential turning point in terms of how we as a country tackle problem drug use and how we support individuals on a journey to overcoming addiction in a sustainable way. We are seeing record numbers of clients referred to Coolmine across both our men’s and women’s residential programmes, and we’re now reconfiguring our strategy to ensure we can continue to support as many people as possible. 

All Coolmine services are working at full capacity across the country. We have 52 men and 24 women assessed and ready today for admission to our residential services. We do not have capacity to meet this demand currently. 

She added, ‘Society as a whole must respond to this and the Citizens Assembly will hopefully inform that response so that anyone who finds themselves battling addiction will have the necessary resources and service available to overcome it.’

Responsive Sustainable Recovery 2023-2026, which will be implemented over a four-year period, seeks to expand the service range and availability for those battling addiction as record numbers of people with problem cocaine and crack cocaine use are recorded in 2023. The plan highlights the strong increase in demand for the charity’s residential services, while also showing how the organisation plans to increase capacity by 20% by the end of 2026. 

Coolmine’s strategy includes:

● Plans to open a new residential Therapeutic Community facility to meet record demand for services;

● Increasing detoxification, dual diagnosis, treatment and residential rehabilitation placements across Coolmine’s current service delivery centres;

● New pathways to treatment for clients with lived experience of the criminal justice system nationally;

● Continue to develop targeted intervention options for socially excluded community members regionally.

Mr Alan Connolly, Coolmine Chairman said “ Our new strategy, Responsive Sustainable Recovery, is designed to ensure that the vital services Coolmine TC provides are adapted to meet the needs of clients over the coming 4 years. We hope to see the launch of the Responsive Sustainable Recovery plan as a progressive step in Coolmine’s strategy to assist those battling addiction and one which helps to deal with the related issues of substance abuse, homelessness and social deprivation.

Coolmine has been operating for 50 years to eliminate the stigma and bias that those battling addiction face, through a health-focused programme. For further information on the work Coolmine is doing to support clients across Ireland, please visit Coolmine.ie


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About Coolmine

Coolmine believes that everyone should have the opportunity to overcome addiction and lead a fulfilled and productive life.

Coolmine takes a therapeutic approach to recovery, dealing with the socio-economic and environmental problems that has brought a person into addiction. We aim to reintegrate vulnerable people into society through education, care, and a sense of purpose.

Coolmine clients are frequently from backgrounds of poverty and generational cycles of addiction. 

Clients are often former prisoners, homeless people, and people who grew up without education.

Patrick Brogan

Author Patrick Brogan

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