THE NUMBER of addicts seeking treatment for heroin use in the city and county has increased by over 200% in the past six years.
Figures obtained by the Kilkenny People showed that in 2004, 23 people entered treatment in Kilkenny with heroin as their main problem drug. By 2010 this number had increased to 75 people.
A spokesperson for the National Research Board said: “The reason for the increase could be related to – an increase in the availability of treatment services, an increase in the number of treatment centres presenting figures to the Health Research Board or a real increase in the use of heroin,” she said.
Figures from the HSE show that alcohol is the main problem of substance misuse in Kilkenny. Cannabis use is on the increase while cocaine use fell between 2009 and 2010. Four substance users died in 2010 while still engaged in services.
However the HSE insists that services are available to deal with the dramatic increase in heroin users. “The substance misuse services in Kilkenny have been greatly enhanced in recent years with the increase in counselling hours, a new pharmacy based needle exchange service, the addition of a new methadone clinic and the commissioning of new residential detoxification services,” a HSE spokesperson said.