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05 Jul 2022

Merchants Quay sees rise in demand for alcohol and drug treatment during lockdown

Merchants Quay sees rise in  demand for alcohol and drug treatment during pandemic lockdown

Merchants Quay Ireland (MQI) has warned that more people availing of addiction services due to lockdown restrictions, with a significant rise in demand in the midlands. 

The charity has warned of the long-term impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on drug and alcohol usage.

For some, it said, pathway out of addiction was put on hold.

However, they say the long-term impact of the prolonged national lockdown on drug and alcohol use has yet to become apparent, according to Merchants Quay Ireland (MQI), the national homelessness and addiction charity, which launched its Annual Report 2020.

The 2020 Annual Review, launched today by Labour Party TD Ivana Bacik, shows that 9,882 people accessed its services last year. The charity said the full impact on people’s mental and physical health may not be realised for years to come.

The 2020 Annual Review shows that despite the enormous challenges that the pandemic presented, MQI’s quick response ensured life-saving services, ranging from food and health care to residential detox and rehabilitation, remained open throughout 2020.

Speaking at the launch of the report, Merchants Quay Ireland Chief Executive Paula Byrne said:

“2020 was a year of challenge and change for everyone in Ireland. For MQI clients – women and men who are homeless and struggling with mental health issues and addiction – it was an exceptionally difficult year. Our clients endured greater isolation and fear than ever before as day services across the city were restricted due to the impact of the pandemic. The full impact on people’s mental and physical health may not be realized for years to come.

“At MQI, we have seen an increase in demand for our addiction services. For some clients their addiction deepened.

“For others their recovery journey was delayed or put on hold.

“The reality for our clients is that COVID-19 was just one more trauma on top of a life-time of trauma. It is crucial that the government holds to its commitment to prioritise the issues of drugs, mental health and homelessness and will provide the leadership and resources needed to address these issues in a real and meaningful way. With the right support, vulnerable people can and do rebuild their lives and reach their full potential,” she said. 

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