€200,000 Funding For Dedicated Crack Cocaine Response in Limerick

February 8, 2023

A new dedicated service that seeks to reduce harm caused by crack cocaine use is to be established in Limerick City. This new initiative is supported through the provision of €200,000 in funding from the HSE, through its Mid West Drug and Alcohol Service, in conjunction with the Mid West Regional Drug and Alcohol Forum (MWRDAF). The service will be operational in April 2023.

The Law Engagement & Assisted Recovery (LEAR) project will be delivered by Ana Liffey, working closely with An Garda Síochána and the HSE. LEAR is an assertive outreach and co-case management approach which involves engagement with the most vulnerable crack cocaine users, to support them in relation to harm reduction and to help them to access drug treatment programmes. The programme will also work closely with Ana Liffey’s existing team, and the network of community based drug treatment services in Limerick.

The need for the response has been identified both by an increase in clients presenting to treatment services for crack cocaine use, and by the recent publication of a major new study carried out by researchers at University of Limerick which identified the need for more focused services and interventions to help people who use crack cocaine.

  • Download the February 2023 research  ‘Doing More – The Health and Social Impacts of Crack Cocaine Use in Limerick City’ here.

The study, commissioned by Ana Liffey Drug Project and funded by the HSE, was designed to explore the experiences of people who use crack cocaine in Limerick City, with the goal of informing the strategic development of services and responses. €200,000 funding for 2023 has been made available via the Drugs Programme Unit, Department of Health Community Services Enhancement Fund, which aims to enhance access to, and delivery of, drug and alcohol services in the community. It has been awarded to Ana Liffey Mid West following a process of consultation in conjunction with the MWRDAF and an expression of interest process.

Rory Keane, Regional Co-ordinator of the HSE Mid West Drug and Alcohol Service said:

“We are delighted to be able to announce the awarding of the funding to Ana Liffey Mid West to roll-out a targeted response to support people using crack cocaine. They are amongst the most vulnerable clients we are working with; and we are confident that the LEAR approach will have a positive impact on supporting people into treatment; and by extension their families and the broader community”.

Mick Lacey, Chair of the MWRDAF stated:

“On behalf of the Mid West Regional Drug & Alcohol Forum we are very pleased with this integrated and multi-dimensional initiative. We are more than confident that Ana Liffey are capable of delivering and implementing this targeted response of engagement with people using crack cocaine. This initiative will also aim to tackle the complexities associated with this most vulnerable group while providing support to the families and instilling confidence within the communities.”

“We would also like to take this opportunity to thank the support of all members of the (community, statutory, voluntary groups) of the MWRDAF, without whose support this initiative could not be realised. We would also like to thank especially Rory Keane of the HSE, whose leadership, partnership and community focused skills has been invaluable in realising this initiative. We also wish to thank the research team in UL for their academic contribution to this initiative without which this could not be implemented.”

Tony Duffin, Chief Executive Officer of Ana Liffey Drug Project said:

“We are very grateful to the Dept. of Health, the HSE and the Mid West Regional Drug & Alcohol Forum for allocating this strategic funding to Ana Liffey Drug Project. This will enable us to respond further to the very serious issue of crack cocaine, and other drugs, in Limerick City. I’m proud to say, that over the last 10 years, our Mid West Team has built up a great level of trust within the community of people who use drugs in Limerick City. We will work with people who are actively using crack cocaine, and other drugs, to reduce associated harms; and we will support those people in relation to accessing services and achieving recovery.”

“Led by Rachael O’Donoghue, the Team Leader of our dedicated Mid West team, Ana Liffey will utilise the LEAR model to support some of Limerick’s most vulnerable citizens who use drugs problematically. In order to effectively reach people who need our support in Limerick, the team will engage in high visibility outreach in the identified areas and take referrals from Gardaí. Co-managing the cases the team will support people to address a wide range of issues including health issues, anti-social issues, criminal justice issues and more besides.”

Derek Smart, Chief Superintendent of the Limerick Garda Division, said:

“Over the past number of years, my team and I have developed a very positive working relationship with Ana Liffey Drug Project through our combined efforts to support vulnerable people. This relationship will be enhanced through the rollout of the Law Engagement & Assisted Recovery project in Limerick.”

“Working in partnership with Ana Liffey, we will focus on the issue in Limerick City Centre. With the person’s consent, my team on the ground will make referrals to Ana Liffey’s LEAR team for people who fit the criteria as needing case management supports.”


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