'For every person caught in addiction, an average of eight people consequently suffer' – Finglas Addiction Support Centre opened by President Michael D Higgins
The Finglas Addiction Support centre (FAST) was today officially opened by President, Michael D. Higgins. The centre works with drug users, recovered users, their families and the community in the Finglas area to provide the highest standard of addiction supports.
The centre also announced the introduction of a Recovery Coach Programme, which will be offered in partnership with Dublin City University's School of Nursing and Human Sciences. The only course of its kind in Ireland, it will train those who are in recovery from drug addiction to help others who are struggling with the process of recovery from detox through to aftercare. On completion of the course, the coaches will work on a voluntary basis with FAST. It will be a 12-month part-time programme.
Professor Brian MacCraith, President of DCU, said, "Dublin City University is particularly pleased to support FAST through its Recovery Coach Programme. The impact and prevalence of substance abuse is devastating, not only to the individual and the immediate family but also for the local community. Tackling the problem is one of the most difficult challenges we face in Ireland and I am delighted that DCU can play its part in supporting FAST's very important contribution to the Finglas community".
FAST is a community based service which was set up by volunteers in 2004 in temporary accommodation. The funding from the Department of Health (formerly the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs) has allowed the service to expand and offer greater range of supports to drug users and their families, and to promote a more inclusive community in the Finglas area.
The centre is open to people who are seeking help from the effects of any form of substance abuse, and provides a range of the latest internationally-recognised treatment methods to assist in recovery.
Over ten professional staff are employed in the centre, which aims to dispel the stigma of addiction and to offer a comprehensive treatment with the best possibilities for long-term recovery. The centre is community based which allows for greater accessibility to loal people who can self-refer.
The treatment focuses on the mental, emotional and physical components of addiction. For example, after the physical aspect of substance misuse has been addressed, the treatment will focus on helping the person to change thought patterns that have led to drug abuse and addictive behaviours in the past.
Speaking at the launch, Barbara Condon, General Manager of FAST, said, "It is well established that for every person caught in addiction, an average of eight people consequently suffer. Our Centre here at FAST hopes to alleviate the effects of addiction for all – both the substance abuser and family members – and to help those affected to build a stronger family unit. Recovering as a family allows healing, encourages forward movement and provides the recovering drug user with a support structure that is essential to his or her success".
Last year, the centre worked with 368 individuals, including substance users, family and community members.
Of the 147 men and women who presented last year for cocaine support, 67 stopped using cocaine completely. 90 expressed a significant reduction in mental health problems associated with addiction, which includes depression, suicidal thoughts, paranoia and anxiety. Other benefits included an improvement in self-esteem, a reduction in drug use and improved relationships with family and friends.
FAST has been nominated for Biomnis healthcare Innovation Awards 2012