Ana Liffey demonstrates the importance of engaging proactively with drug users across Ireland

November 29, 2013

Mr. Alex White, SC, TD, Minister of State for Primary Care, formally launched the Ana Liffey Drug Project’s Mid-West Service and the organisation’s 2012 Annual Report at Ana Liffey’s premises in Fairgreen, Limerick City, today, 29th November 2013.

Minister Alex White T.D. Launches Ana Liffey's Limerick Service & Annual Report 2012

Tony Duffin Midwest Launch

Ana Liffey is a national addiction service, which seeks to reduce the harm drug use causes to individuals, families and communities across Ireland. The organisation’s primary client group is active drug users with complex needs. Tony Duffin, Director of the Ana Liffey Drug Project, noted that the organisation’s annual report 2012 reveals that a focus on inclusion and engagement really does help to bring people into services:

“In 2012, Ana Liffey worked across 12 counties of Ireland.  We worked with 3,560 individuals providing 28,693 interventions. Significantly, 36 of these people were active drug users aged between 14 and 17 who typically presented with poly-drug use, notably problematic illicit benzodiazepine and high strength cannabis.  We provided 1,745 medical interventions and 2,025 needle and syringe programme interventions.  The two websites managed by the organisation – drugs.ie and aldp.ie – saw 196,589 unique visitors. Across the country, Ana Liffey sought to increase pathways to treatment and options for our client group. More people than ever before from more areas of the country accessed treatment through the Ana Liffey.”

The organisation’s Mid-West Service, which is supported by the Mid-West Regional Drug Task Force and the HSE opened in May 2012 and employs 5 people. Since opening, the team has worked with 241 individuals across counties Limerick, Clare, and Tipperary. Services provided include street outreach, home visits, one-to-one case management, group work, a needle and syringe programme and referral to treatment programmes.

The work of the Ana Liffey Drug Project in the region was commended by Mick Lacey, Chairperson of the Mid-West Regional Drug Task Force:

“We’re very pleased that we can support the work that Ana Liffey Drug Project does in the region. Making services accessible to those who need them is absolutely crucial in modern healthcare delivery.  It’s not sufficient to wait for marginalised people to come to you – you need to be proactive in finding and engaging those people who need your services. The Ana Liffey’s Mid-West Team do this very well, providing services which support and encourage client engagement, delivered with a high level of tolerance for extreme behaviours. Such engagement and tolerance is critical if those who are marginalised are to be supported in a meaningful way.”

However, Tony Duffin noted that there are still gaps in service delivery, and that innovative approaches which put the client at the centre of service delivery need to be trialled:

“We’re working towards implementing a number of innovative services over the coming months and years. It’s important that services are appropriate for both the community and the drug use profile of that community. For example, Dublin city centre has a serious issue with street injecting and unsafe disposal. This is not good for anyone, but unfortunately, many drug users do not see themselves as having any option but to use on the streets. We’re seeking to address this with the provision of a mobile medically supervised injecting centre which would provide people with a safe space to use off the streets where they could access medical and social support. Further, we would also like to see a residential service which adopts a true needs-based approach to stabilisation for activate drug users.  We are engaging with our stakeholders on these issues on an ongoing basis.”

Ana Liffey’s services are free and people can contact Ana Liffey by calling Freephone 1800786828 or find a local drug service by visiting http://www.drugs.ie

Read annual report 2012

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