The greenhouses at Discover Onself Athy located at The Old Graden Centre, Ardscull, in Athy
The founder of an addiction and mental health treatment centre in Athy has said that a drugs unit for Athy would be ‘hugely beneficial’ in helping tackle drug crime, and their clinic is also working to help the local community to raise awareness about addiction.
Declan Nolan is the founder of Discover Oneself Athy (D1-S) which was set up in the town three years ago, and he agreed that drug use is ‘becoming less hidden and more obvious’ in the town.
He told KildareNow: “It has been bad for years in Athy and people are talking about it now because it’s becoming less hidden and more obvious, it can affect the whole community. People talking about it now also offers those who have struggled with addiction to tell their story.”
Mr Nolan said that the centre is entirely self-funded and is made up of 14 volunteers who help people with co-occuring disorders (COD). “This is where people typically have one or more problems relating to the use of alcohol and/or other drugs as well as one or more mental health issues. We help people with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and a lot of other conditions. We provide a number of local services such as Drop in & Information Service, Recovery Coaching, Community Assisted Detox, Stabilisation & Aftercare, Pyschotheraphy, Addiction & Mental Health Counselling, and we also help out those in legal situations such as helping with applications for TUSLA, etc.”
He said: “Our service is a testament to lack of community support. We have individuals & families from not just Athy but all Kildare, West Wicklow, Laois, Dublin & Carlow engaging. Ours being a day service as opposed to a residential treatment centre has seen people travelling to engage. They need support but their home life may not allow them to go into a treatment centre for 3 - 6 months.”
Meanwhile, D1-S Athy also encourages the individuals who receive treatment at their clinic to also participate in art classes and gardening in the green houses at the facility, with the aim of re-introduce them to the local community.
Above pictured: A 'Wizard of Oz' mural in the greenhouse which the members created.
Pictured above: The 121 & family rooms at Discover Oneself Athy
In terms of the current situation in Athy, Mr Nolan said that they have seen an increase in cannabis being sold by dealers in recent months. He said that a drugs unit ‘would help the situation in some ways, but that there must be links with other local services’ to support those battling addiction and their families.
Meanwhile, at the meeting of the Athy Municipal District on Monday July 15, Cllr Aoife Breslin tabled a motion for the establishment of a Drug Squad for Athy to combat increasing levels of drug crime. Correspondence to the matter was also sent to Chief Superintendent Sutton on May 13, 2019 requesting that five or six gardai be allocated to the drugs unit.
The Councillors all agreed to keep the issue on the agenda and to bring the request to the Chief Superintendent of the Gardai.
For more information on D1-S Athy visit www.d1-s.com