- Sex & Drugs
- 18 Oct 17
Concerns have been expressed about a possible looming crisis within Dublin's Addiction Centres. Now, Hot Press can confirm that at least one drug addiction clinic in North Dublin is due to close for an extended period.
The HSE's Communications Office in North Dublin has confirmed to Hot Press that the Tolco Drug Addiction Clinic in North Dublin is to close. However, there is a promise that the centre will re-open in the future.
"There are no plans to close Tolco Clinic for good,” Rosaleen Harlin, who is the Area Communications Manager at the Health Service Executive, told Hot Press, "however we do need to replace the roof on the clinic as it is beyond repair.
"We have been notified that this will take up to 15 months. During this period for health and safety reasons both the clinic and offices will need to be shut and decanted.
"The timeline for works to commence has not been finalised yet, we are currently working with stakeholders to put our plans in place to enable the repair works to commence."
What this news will mean for clients at the centre, in particular those who are on a methadone programme, remains to be seen. Hot Press has asked what contingency plans have been put in place, with a view to establishing if clients of the beleaguered clinic will be able to access their prescribed drugs in a way that is safe and reliable while it is closed. As of now, we do not know if clients of the clinic have been informed of the decision to close it.
"Each Service User who receives support from Tolco Clinic will have their care plan reviewed,” Rosaleen Harlin added, in response to our query, "and an appropriate individual care plan will be put in place for them."
Tolco Clinic is one of five main methadone-dispensing clinics in Dublin North, as listed on the HSE's website, so it's closure could have major implications for people who use this service. Hot Press understands that in the region of 40 clients are dealt with on a daily basis in the clinic. There are also nursing services. Among the other drugs administered at the centre are Valium and zimovane. Valium is also a trade-able commodity on the streets, selling at €1 a tablet.
Concerns have been expressed that the closure may be part of a wider push towards directing patients in Ireland into what is called ‘primary care’ – that is, to drive them away from the hospital system and into a situation where their health needs are managed by GPs, many of whom do not have the experience, the time, the resources or the systems required to manage the welfare of addicts properly.
One GP has spoken privately to Hot Press about the difficulties in dealing with addicts. “The ironic thing is that addicts who have been prescribed methadone often actually want to be dealt with by doctors,” the GP said. “It suits them, if they are wavering at all, in that they can then sell the methadone on the black market and buy heroin. That is a real issue at the moment and so I would be worried if the clients who attend a clinic like Tolco are sent back to their local doctor to get prescriptions."
Hot Press will be updating this story as new details emerge.