There always seems to be negative discussion of drug addicts being a problem on the streets of Dublin. It is the only angle of addiction that many people see, fuelling a climate of fear surrounding the city centre. Yet there is another side to this dark affliction. Recovery Walk Ireland aims to bring addiction recovery into the light.
There is a lot of support and help available to addicts and their families. Contrary to popular belief, recovery from addiction is possible, but a long and difficult journey to begin on your own.
Fortunately, many areas now have dedicated task forces assigned to help people break free of addiction. The Spellman Centre and the Ringsend and District Response to Drugs (RDRD) is the local task force in Ringsend. They and many others do a great job with limited means.
Barry Costello is a Senior Project Worker in Dublin’s North Inner City, and a fully accredited Addiction Counsellor. Carrying the torch passed from Jackie Leahy of the Recovery Foundation, Barry ran the Recovery Walk 2015. He did a great job and the annual event continues to grow year-on-year.
There is a lot more to addiction than heroin, which blighted Dublin in the 1980s and ’90s. Although not gone away, the big addiction today is polydrug use – two or more drugs mixed together, typically pills, are combined to give a new or more potent effect.
Gambling addiction is a scourge to families and is on the rise, and alcohol addiction is, as always, an ever-present problem. No man is an island and anyone seeking help for themselves or their family need only get in touch with their local drugs task force to begin to get the help and guidance they need.
Regardless of the category of addiction, recovery is a phenomenal achievement and deserves recognition. The support services too need acknowledgement for their hard work and dedication, and to help them retain and, where possible, increase vital financial support.
Recovery Walk Ireland aims to achieve this, and we at NewsFour are doing our bit to facilitate them.
To do this every year, a great afternoon out is organised. All are welcome. It is a great family day, with a light and carnival atmosphere. Kids can get their faces painted and be entertained with a magic show.
The day starts with a one-kilometre symbolic walk culminating at the Wood Quay Amphitheatre behind the Dublin City Council (DCC) head office.
Every year there is music and succinct speeches. This year a valued speaker was Labour Party T.D. Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, Minister of State with special responsibility for New Communities, Culture and Equality. According to Barry Costello, Minister Ó Ríordáin, “has being doing great work since he took over” his portfolio. He has a track record of fighting for the disadvantaged in society.
This year, Aslan lead singer Christy Dignam gave a heartfelt speech that was warmly received by the crowd, and the day was topped off with Aslan performing four songs to the appreciation of all.
It is an event well worth attending, and NewsFour will be sure to cover it again next September.
By Keith Murphy