Drug use affects many individuals, families and local communities in Dublin 15. Prolonged use of any drug can cause serious health and social issues.

Listed below is a wide range
of services for people of Dublin 15
needing support for their drug use.


Information On Drugs
Reasons people take Drugs
There are many reasons why people take drugs. Here are some of the factors which can influence them: Some people are more drawn to risk taking than others. They may use drugs to fit in with their social group or to help them cope, for a sense of release or individual transformation, or for the thrill. The age you are when you first try drugs can influence how you will go on to use them. For example, the younger you are when you start drinking alcohol, the more likely you are to try hard drugs later on.

Young men are more likely to experiment with drugs than women. However, heavy drug use can cause more damage to young women. This is a major factor, as many people take recreational drugs for the ‘buzz’ or ‘thrill’. They make a deliberate choice to pursue this ‘high’.
There are two schools of thought on the influence of your friends on your drug use. One is that the group can pressure you into taking drugs. Another is that people may choose to hang out with people who are into the same things as they are.

The easier it is to get drugs, the more likely you are to use them. This will also influence the type of drugs you use.
People who live in a ‘deprived’ state, where the risk factors are high and the protective factors low, have a higher risk of using drugs. In terms of family, the important factor is how happy and stable your family life is, rather than whether you have two parents or not.
Some people use drugs to lose weight or to help them concentrate. Others may self-diagnose problems and use drugs to self-medicate.

Drugs and Mental Health
Mental health means different things to different people. You may think of control, happiness, contentment, order – but good mental health is usually a sign of a positive way of life. Mental ill health is the opposite of this – it causes problems and creates barriers to being happy. Your frame of mind may vary between the two as mental health can change. It can be affected by external influences, and one of these is drugs.

Drugs that are psychoactive, such as cannabis, alcohol, ecstasy and heroin, have the ability to affect your mood. They can arouse certain emotions or dampen down others. This may be why you use them. The changes in your mood or behaviour caused by drugs are the result of changes to your brain. This is also the part of you that controls your mental health. Drugs interfere with the chemicals in your brain. This affects the messages those chemicals are trying to send. You need to weigh up both the short-term and long-term effects that drugs can have on your mental health.

The short-term effects may well be something you enjoy – but probably only if they happen like you expect them to. You may also have unwanted short-term drug-induced side effects, such as acting or feeling strange. These are short-term because they pass as the drug leaves your system.Drugs can have a longer-lasting impact on your mental health too, and you need to think seriously about your own strengths and vulnerabilities. Consider whether you use drugs to make bad feelings go away and whether you are in control of your use. Even if you start using drugs with a clear mind they may still affect your mental health. Drugs can simply expose bad feelings you never knew you had.

Unwanted effects may stay with you because you have a pre-existing mental health condition you were not aware of. Or you may get the dose very wrong and permanently disrupt a chemical balance in your brain.

Types Of Drugs

Can be divided into three broad categories: psychedelics, dissociatives, and deliriants. These can cause subjective changes in perception, thought, emotion and consciousness: PMA, Cannabis, 2CB, Magic mushrooms, Methamphetamine, LSD, Morning Glory, Hawaiian baby woodrose, Ketamine, Ecstasy.

Headshop Drugs

Also often referred to as “Legal Highs” are substances which are usually sold via Head Shops (It is important to note that although these drugs may not be illegal it does not necessarily mean they are safe). Kratom, Other plant products, Pills, Powders, Smoke.


Opioids encompass naturally occurring opium poppy derivatives, such as morphine and codeine, and semi-synthetic opiates like heroin and methadone. They are classed as narcotic analgesics – meaning they decrease pain reaction and sensation. Opioids can produce intense euphoria in a person and a sense of well-being. Side effects include sedation, respiratory depression, severe withdrawal, development of tolerance and dependence issues: Other opiates, Methadone, Codeine phosphate, Heroin.

Over the Counter Painkillers

Non-opiate based over-the-counter medicines used for mild to moderate pain relief, flu and other symptoms. Prolonged use can lead to dependence.


Substance that depresses the central nervous system (CNS), resulting in calmness, relaxation, reduction of anxiety, sleepiness, and slowed breathing: Cannabis, Ketamine, GHB or GBL, Kava kava, Benzodiazepines, Alcohol.


When inhaled, solvents have a similar effect to alcohol. They make people feel uninhibited, euphoric and dizzy. incl: gas lighter refills, aerosols etc.


Are drugs that make people feel more awake, alert and energetic. Cocaine and amphetamines are stimulants: PMA, Benzylpiperazine, Speed, Poppers, Tobacco, Methamphetamine, Khat, Ephedrine, Ecstasy, Creatine, Crack cocaine, Cocaine, Anabolic steroids, Amphetamine.

Most commonly used Drugs
Apart from medicines and caffeine, the drug most Irish people use is alcohol, followed by nicotine. The illegal drugs that people are most likely to try are:

Cannabis, Cocaine, Amphetamine, Nitrites, poppers, Ecstasy, LSD, Magic mushrooms, Solvents (aerosols, gases and glues), Minor tranquillisers (not prescribed), Heroin, Crack cocaine


recognising drug use in a person
General signs of drug use

There are some general signs to watch out for which may be linked to drug use. Bear in mind that all of the signs listed below could be caused by many reasons other than drug use such as puberty, social changes or medical conditions. Try not to jump to conclusions about drug use, as you may be wrong and isolate your teenager even more.

Secrecy about activities, slyness, caginess. Staying out unusually late. A lot of new friends, perhaps an older crowd. Lack of interest in old hobbies and activities. Memory loss. Mood swings – quite suddenly, may have fits of temper. Short attention span. Not taking care of their appearance. Wearing sunglasses to hide the effects of drugs on the eyes. Using deodorant or incense to hide the smell of drugs. Always being broke and trying to borrow money. Stealing from home or outside – money and stuff they can sell. Using slang terms for drugs. Social, personal and family relationships suffer. Poor work or school performance, may be skipping days. Losing appetite and weight. Becoming withdrawn and not wanting to talk.


You may notice some of the following but not everyone who uses this drug shows all these symptoms: Hyperactivity, Unusual confidence, Jerky movements, Can’t sleep, Very talkative, Grinding of teeth, Very large pupils, Sweating, Thirsty, No appetite, Staring.

Benzodiazepines (sleeping tablets and tranquillisers)

Slurred speech, Gentle, monotone voice, Distracted, Calm, Agoraphobia – not wanting to leave the house, Reclusive – avoiding other people, Fear of people and going outside, Aggressive (when used with alcohol), Passive (when used with opiates such as morphine and heroin) Comedown: (after long time use)
May become even more reclusive, agoraphobic and scared of people, may behave more strangely, twitching eyes, tense neck


Similar to amphetamines but also look out for: Runny, itchy nose – due to snorting, Extremely rapid heartbeat

Comedown: Unlike ecstasy and other amphetamines, in which the effects can last up to six hours, the rush of cocaine only lasts 2-3 minutes and the effects wear off in 12 – 13 minutes. The comedown effects are similar to amphetamines but are far more intense.


You may notice some of the following but not everyone who uses this drug shows all these symptoms:

Hyperactivity, Unusual confidence, Jerky movements, Can’t sleep, Very talkative, Grinding teeth, Very large pupils, Sweating, Thirsty, No appetite, Staring, ‘Spittin’ cotton’ – spit is like a cotton ball, Small folded square of paper in an envelope shape. Comedown:May cause depression, fear, listlessness, apathy, muscle aches, cramps, mood swings.


Bloodshot eyes, Giggling (especially in when they first start using), Distracted, Introverted, Short attention span, Going off on tangents, hard to follow their train of thought, Loss of short term memory – this will come back when they stop, ‘Bomb’ burn on clothes – small burn marks caused by falling bits of ash, Torn off bits of cardboard from cigarette packets or other cardboard objects to make a roach’ (a sort of filter), Bits of loose cigarette tobacco around their room or in pockets, Butts of cigarettes with no stains on the filter, Cigarette papers such as Rizla and cigarettes together, Knives with burn marks from heating and inhaling hash smoke – ‘hot knives’ Comedown: May cause anxiety, restlessness


After a fix or after smoking heroin the person will be ‘stoned’. Look out for:

Very small pupils, Light coloured eyes turn bright blue, Eyes look glassy, ‘Goofing off’ – looks like they are nodding off, hard to keep their eyes open, Unable to finish sentences, Slurred speech, Shallow breathing, Scratching, Excessive smoking, Loose facial muscles, Blood stains on clothes from using needles, Bloody tissues, ‘Track marks’ – marks left by needles, especially on hands, arms and legs although any vein can be used, Burnt holes in furniture, bed linen or clothes caused by ‘goofing’ when smoking a cigarette, Burnt tin foil from smoking heroin – ‘chasing the dragon’, Spoons going missing from the house, spoons with a blackened underside from ‘cooking’ heroin, Cut filters from cigarettes, Ties or laces in pockets – used as tourniquets to prepare the vein for injecting, Long sleeves in warm weather to hide track marks.

Comedown: Runny nose and eyes, excessive yawning, very large pupils, agitated, can’t sleep, lack of energy, cranky, depressed, cold sweats or hot flushes, gooseflesh skin, overeating or under-eating, severe diarrhoea after constipation, nausea, dry retching which produces bile, constant knot in stomach, severe cramps in stomach and back of legs, ‘the shakes’ – spasms in arms and legs, violent spasms in the small of the back cause back to arch, panting, spontaneous orgasms in men and women.

Young people from all backgrounds may be tempted to smoke, drink and take drugs. Your biggest worry may be the risk to your children from drugs and alcohol. This concern can lead you believe that:

  • Using any kind of drug automatically leads to addiction
  • If your kids use drugs then you are bad parents
  • Drugs cause social problems
  • That everyone else sees drug use as evil

These feelings can cause communication problems between you and your children on drug issues. Parents often can’t understand why children would want to use drugs.

You may feel nervous talking to your children about drugs and are unsure what approach to take. You may think that you:

  • Don’t know anything about drugs
  • Don’t know what to do if your child is using any kind of drug
  • Don’t know what signs to look out for
  • Don’t know how to raise the issue with your child
  • Don’t know where to get information

It’s important to start talking to your child as early as possible to develop a trusting relationship. This helps to protect them against substance abuse. If a family member has had an addiction, your child’s risk of developing a problem is higher so it is even more important to talk them about it.

There is no sure way to prevent your child using drugs but you can decrease the chances of it happening if you:

  • Maintain good communication with your child. Make sure they know they can talk to you if they have any concerns or issues.
  • Be interested in their activities and know who their friends are. Help with homework and give them lifts to and from sports and other activities.
  • Have open discussions with your child from a young age about drug use: what they would do if offered drugs, explore examples, positives and negatives of use.
  • Encourage them not to drink or smoke. The longer you can delay this the less likely they are to use illegal drugs.
  • Make sure your own use of alcohol or other drugs is responsible. The best way to influence their behaviour is by example.
  • Inform yourself about drugs.
  • Praise and encourage healthy behaviour.
  • Have positive expectations for your children.
  • Set clear boundaries in your home.
It can be hard to tell the difference between signs of drug use and normal teenage changes such as being moody, sleeping late, changing friends. As a parent you will know your own teenager and notice changes in their behaviour.

Some of these may indicate drug use:

  • Sudden changes in mood
  • Losing interest in things they used to enjoy
  • Money going missing
  • Aggressive or irritable behaviour
  • Being secretive
  • Finding unusual objects, such as powders, tablets, scorched tinfoil, cigarette papers
  • Burns on clothes

Between May 2014 and May 2015, A survey was carried out by The Blanchardstown Local Drug and Alcohol Task Force of drug users accessing treatment for alcohol and/or drug use in Dublin 15.

Number of people treated

Numbers by Age Groups:

  • Under 18 8%
  • Aged 18 – 24 10%
  • Aged 25 – 34 29%
  • Aged 35 – 44 44%
  • Aged 45+ 9%

Most used drugs in age demographics presenting for treatment:

  • Heroin (Aged 35 – 44) 156 people 56%
  • Cannabis (Under 18) 46 people 42%
  • Alcohol (Aged 35-44) 28 people 45%
  • Methadone (Aged 35 – 44) 34 people 62%
  • Benzodiazepines / Z-drugs (Aged 35 – 44) 29 people 53%
  • Cocaine Powder (Aged 25 – 34) 15 people 35%

Support Services & Help in Dublin 15

Foróige has a range of specialised drug education and prevention projects based around the country, funded mainly through Local or Regional Drug Task Forces and the Young People’s Facilities and Services Fund through local VECs. Foróige recognises that young people’s active participation in youth work initiatives through clubs, projects and services makes a big contribution to substance misuse prevention.

Buzzardstown House, Mulhuddart,
Blanchardstown, Dublin 15


(086) 8209891



Tolka River Project is aimed at Stabilised drug users seeking rehabilitation in the Dublin 15 area, delivered as integral part of programme towards good care and progression to desired outcomes. Tolka River Project work closely with local prescribers to access community detox programmes and referral to residential detox programmes. Access to core training programme and vocational needs. 12 months programme before progression / move on. Offers a broad range of rehabilitation needs.

Tolka River Project, Buzzardstown Campus,
Mulhuddart, Dublin 15


(01) 8242060
(087) 6684671



HSE Rehabilitation Integration Service

The service is aimed at People wishing to address their addiction, rehabilitation needs and progression issues. We are a community based rehabilitation/integration service who provides an intensive person centred assessment, planning, brokering, advocacy and rehabilitation guidance service to individuals wanting to address or move away from problem drug use. All referrals accepted for Assessment. planning, brokering and advocacy

HSE Addiction Service, 22a Main Street,
Blanchardstown, Dublin 15


(01) 860 4842
(086) 7810235


(01) 860 4848



ADAPT ( Addressing Drug and Alcohol Problem Together ) is a community drug team providing services to people experiencing problems related to their addiction to, or use of, drugs and/or alcohol, and to people who are affected by the drug and/or alcohol addiction/use of others.

37A Coolmine Industrial Estate,
Blanchardstown, Dublin 15


(01) 8211385



Mulhuddart/Corduff Community Drug Team

Support group for drug or alcohol users,
Harm reduction information and support

Parslickstown House, Parslickstown,
Mulhuddart, Dublin 15


(01) 8216601


(01) 8216177



Blanchardstown Drug Prevention Education Project

Support & services for teens relating to Drug abuse.

Blanchardstown Youth Service, Main Street,
Blanchardstown, Dublin 15


(086) 8224388


Support & services for people relating to Drug abuse.

2nd Floor Parkside, Main Street,
Mulhuddart, Dublin 15


(01) 8249590



Narcotics Anonymous Ireland

Narcotics Anonymous (NA) is a non-profit fellowship of men and women for whom drugs had become a major problem. Narcotics Anonymous offer recovery from the effects of addiction through working a twelve step program, including regular attendance at group meetings.
Narcotics Anonymous is an international, community based association of recovering drug addicts with more than 63,000 meetings in 132 countries worldwide. There are currently 210 weekly meetings across Ireland.The only requirement for membership is the desire to stop using.

14b Upper Kevin Street
Dublin 8


(01) 6728000



Coolmine Ashleigh House Women’s Residential Programme

The TC is primarily a self-help approach in which residents are responsible for their own recovery with peers and staff acting as facilitators of change. Hence there is deep commitment to ‘community as method’ where the primary therapy and the main agent for change is the community itself. The most common features of TCs include that they are operated by residents, are based on a hierarchical structure according to seniority (length of time in the programme) and abstinence is the ultimate goal.

Damastown Walk,
Damastown Industrial Estate, Dublin 15


(01) 8251100



Coolmine Lodge Men’s Residential Programme

The TC is primarily a self-help approach in which residents are responsible for their own recovery with peers and staff acting as facilitators of change. Hence there is deep commitment to ‘community as method’ where the primary therapy and the main agent for change is the community itself. The most common features of TCs include that they are operated by residents, are based on a hierarchical structure according to seniority (length of time in the programme) and abstinence is the ultimate goal.

Damastown Walk,
Damastown Industrial Estate, Dublin 15


(01) 821 4545



HSE Counselling Addiction Service – Mulhuddart

Counselling for substance misuse

Parlickstown House, Parlickstown,
Mulhuddart, Dublin 15


(01) 8097180




The service is aimed at Males & Females of All age groups. There is no catchment area Aisling provides a five-day per week programme: duration of six months. Aftercare: a further six months. Aisling also operates a separate parents, education and training programme. Prevention for Family. Parent/Carer Training including sports managers. Prevention & Early intervention.

P.O. Box 26, Bradan House,
Navan, Co. Meath


(046) 907 4300


(046) 907 4300




The service is aimed at Males & Females Age Group: 16 & Over. Catchment area is Eastern Region of HSE. Therapeutic residential rehabilitation facility with a two year aftercare programme, which focuses on
using social learning interventions within a systemic approach to develop drug free living skills. To create a safe environment in which clients can develop the skills they need to live a drug free life.

St. Mary’s Hospital,
Phoenix Park, Dublin 20


(01) 620 0040 / 41


(01) 620 1571


The service is aimed Male & Female Under 18 years From North of the Liffey, HSE North Area. SASSY is a specialist service providing support to young people with addiction problems. At least four sessions are usually completed with a young person but this varies based on the needs of the client. To encourage abstinence from drugs in the young person. To promote reduction in drug use. To encourage reengagement in activities such as education etc.

22 Mountjoy Square East,
Dublin 1


(01) 877 2300
086 781 0401


(01) 877 2357




The service is aimed Male & Female aged 12 -18 years Living in the Greater Blanchardstown Area. The provision of Drug Education and Prevention Programmes for young people aged 12-18 through the provision of the correct information regarding drugs, exploring issues around drug misuse and challenging attitudes, while developing personal skills including decision making, self esteem, confidence, leadership, communication and
personal effectiveness. 1 The overall aim is to enable young people to involve themselves consciously and actively in their own development and in the development of society. To provide up to date relevant information on drugs, their influence and effects. To explore substance use issues. To enable young people to develop personal skills including self esteem, communication, leadership and personal effectiveness.To highlight the relationship between drugs, sexual health and mental health.

Buzzardstown House,
Mulhuddart, Dublin 15


(01) 822 6163



Information on this page was sourced from the Drugs.ie website for more comprehensive information including access to supports and programmes, please visit the Drugs.ie website


Safer Blanchardstown
Fingal Library
Blanchardstown Shopping Centre
Dublin 15

(01) 870 8494


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