How to get help with drug abuse

With Drug Awareness Week being marked this week, there are several outlets in Co Kilkenny where people who have problems with drug use can get help.

With Drug Awareness Week being marked this week, there are several outlets in Co Kilkenny where people who have problems with drug use can get help.

These include drop-in services, residential programmes, and support for parents and families. Free and confidential help is available both to those who suffer from addictions and to their loved ones who are also affected. Below is a look at services available in Kilkenny and Carlow, and how to reach them for help.

Drug clinics: Drug clinics are held by the HSE Substance Misuse Team in Kilkenny and Carlow, with each clinic staffed by counsellors, nurses and GPs, offering services such as drug substitution, vaccination, blood tests, full medical assessment and comprehensive assessments.

Addiction services offer counselling for addictions such as alcohol and drugs. Counselling and support are offered to substance misusers, concerned family members and friends. These services are accessible in a variety of locations and include assessment, advice, information, individual counselling, group therapy, family support, out-patient and in-patient detoxification, maintenance programme, aftercare and education/prevention programmes. A counsellor must be contacted to arrange a clinic appointment. There is an open referral system.

The Substance Misuse Team in Carlow/Kilkenny can be contacted on 1890 464 600 for an assessment or information.

Walk-in service: The HSE Substance Misuse Team runs a weekly ‘Walk in – Open Access’ service, for which no appointment is required. The service offers brief intervention, screening, education and links individual and families seeking substance misuse services. Anyone in Carlow/Kilkenny can receive an in intervention within one week. To avail of this service, call 1890 464 600.

In Kilkenny, the ‘Walk In – Open Access’ Service is on Mondays from 5-6.30pm at Ardú Substance Misuse Treatment Service, HSE, Kickham Street, Kilkenny. In Carlow, the service is on Tuesdays from 3-5.30pm at Ardú Treatment Clinic, St Dympna’s Hospital, Carlow.

Aislinn Treatment Centre: Aislinn Adolescent Addiction Treatment Centre is located on the outskirts of Ballyragget. This drug-free residential treatment centre is for people aged 15-21, both male and female, with 12 beds available at any one time. The average stay for a young person is 42 days. Referrals can come from the Probation Welfare Service, the HSE, GPs, counsellors, gardaí and others.

There is a strong family involvement in the Aislinn programme, and the centre also runs a residential family respite programme for those who have experienced the effects of a person’s abuse of chemicals and for those who continue to live with the distress of a family member’s abuse. Croi Nua provides the opportunity for families to face and express the feelings they have about themselves and the person who is abusing chemicals.

The Aislinn Centre can be contacted on 056 8833777, or see

Free, confidential help: The Kilkenny City Drugs Initiative and the Kilkenny Rural Drugs Initiative are funded by the HSE and housed and managed by Ossory Youth in Desart Hall, New Street, Kilkenny. The initiatives have three main areas of work: drugs education, development of projects and initiatives to address drug issues, and support for individuals and families.

Anyone involved in a community group who feels that drugs education would be a good thing for its members; anyone with idea about a specific project that addresses a drugs issue; and anyone who themselves or a member of their family its suffering from the effects of a drug problem, can receive free and confidential help from the Kilkenny City or Rural Drugs Initiative by contacting 087 9845019 or 087 0525266.

Drugs outreach worker: Patrick Connaughton is the drugs outreach worker for Carlow/Kilkenny. He is based at the St Vincent de Paul Hostel in Carlow, and when in Kilkenny he works out of the Newpark Close Family Resource Centre. His aim is to link substance misusers with services such as addiction counselling, the methadone clinic and treatment centres. He is also available for advice and support, advocacy, auricular acupuncture and harm reduction advice.

The service is free but Patrick is only allowed to work with people who are 18 years or older. For anyone under 18, he can refer them to services and workers who are able to work with minors. Meetings can also be arranged in community centres or a local coffee shop, etc.

Patrick can be contacted on 085 7888326, at and on Facebook at

Family Support Group: The South East Regional Family Support Network’s Kilkenny Family Support Group is a safe, confidential and non-judgmental place for the family members of drug users to come together to discuss common issues about dealing with drug use within their family.

At a Peer Family Support Meeting, family members can meet with others in a similar situation, obtain knowledge and information, have their own space and time out, find unity and support, learn to cope with addiction and learn to be part of the rehabilitation process. For more information, contact 056 7723860 or 086 3152246, email or see

Help for parents: Because parents require support as well, an eight-week course in ‘Family Communications and Self Esteem’ is being run in The Drum youth centre in MacDonagh Junction, Kilkenny, with topics such as communications and listening with in the family, self esteem, ‘The Good Enough Parent’, setting limits with your children, exploring feelings, resolving conflict and problems solving, and assertive parenting. The course is primarily for parents of parents of young people age 9-17. For more information, send a text to 087 9693297.

Mooncoin parish drug initiative: The Mooncoin parish drug initiative is about helping young people have a healthy approach to life and give them the tools to make the right choices as they enter adolescence. Started in 2006, the group uses a peer education programme first piloted in St Kieran’s College, Kilkenny.

The first part involves visiting local secondary schools and youth clubs to look for volunteers between ages 16-18 to be trained in drug awareness and how drugs are misused in society.

Once trained as peer educators, they put together a drug awareness and healthy life choices programme, which they deliver to the pupils of sixth class in the parish. Adults are present during these programmes to give help and supervision.

The peer educators also give a programme to young people who are making their Confirmation, and the parish initiative puts on a free family fun day in June of each year. The initiative also runs information nights in drug awareness for parents, and is involved in the Irish Bishops Drugs Initiative.