REHAB WAIT: Why are people waiting up to two years for a drug detox bed?
9 Backers raised €480 of €2230

A rising demand for drug treatment is recognised in the current Government drug strategy, yet thousands continue to wait for months, and sometimes years, to be admitted to a detox bed.

Over 3,500 people were waiting for a drug or alcohol detox bed in Ireland, as of February 2021, with over 2,200 on the waiting list for at least nine months.

Drug use in Ireland increased over the past decade and the number of new people being treated for drug abuse has also grown. Just over 2,200 new treatment cases were reported in 2006 and this had almost doubled to 4,200 in 2021. The number of drug-related deaths is also rising year-on-year.

The Government’s ‘Reducing Harm, Supporting Recovery’ strategy, is due to end in 2025. It promised the expansion of addiction services, including residential treatment. But while progress has been made on expanding access to clinics, the pandemic saw residential services nationally impacted, according to the mid term review in 2021.

“There’s an urgent need for further investment in accessible residential and community detox services”, according to Merchants Quay Ireland’s 2019 Annual Review.


We want to investigate why people are spending up to two years on the waiting list for a detox bed, when an increased need for treatment was anticipated by the Government in their 2017 strategy.

We also want to examine the impact of waiting to detox on people’s recovery as well as the pressure that drug service providers are under due to this bed shortage.

Finally, we will delve into the progress of the Government’s drug strategy and see if it is doing enough to tackle drug addiction.

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9 Backers raised €480 of €2230
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