There has been a 50 per cent increase in the number of professionals and executives seeking cocaine treatment in Ireland in the last three years, according to the acting head of Ireland’s largest private addiction treatment centre.
The Rutland Centre in Dublin has been open for 30 years and has treated more than 14,000 clients to date. Austin Prior, head of treatment service at the Knocklyon-based facility, said a clear trend in cocaine problems among middle- and upper-class professionals had become obvious in recent years.
The centre is starting a new eight-week evening programme for cocaine addiction next month to cater for this group. It is also organising a two-day seminar, entitled ‘Treating chemically-dependent executives and professionals’, for employee assistance professionals, counsellors and psychotherapists.
Prior said that addiction among executives, managers, doctors, lawyers, engineers and other professionals was a ‘‘serious and poorly-understood and managed’’ problem.
‘‘No group is exempt from the consequence of heavy cocaine use, and all get caught by the perception that cocaine is a ‘safe drug’,” he said.
‘‘The highly addictive drug is increasingly seen as normal and accessible in social circles and the nightclub and party scene.
‘‘It is perceived as the best way to a quick high, and a boost to the flagging energies of the busy executive or professional,” said Prior.
‘‘But beneath the glamour and attraction of use lie the dangers of dependency, blood pressure, heart problems and strokes.
‘‘For some, the ultimate high may also become the ultimate end - death.”
The EU’s monitoring centre on drug abuse estimates that cocaine use plays a determining role in about 10 per cent of all drug-related deaths.
The Rutland centre’s new cocaine addiction programme involves individual, group and, potentially, family therapy.
It also includes clinical assessment and laboratory screening, an individualised treatment plan, workshops, and cognitive behavioural therapy. The course costs €4,980.