Cocaine is “alive and well” at every GAA club in the country, according to psychotherapist and former Limerick hurling All-Star Ciarán Carey.
On Newstalk Breakfast his morning, the 51-year-old said he has seen an increase in people struggling with the drug in his own practice in recent years – and particularly in the last 12 months.
“I just doesn’t appear to be going away,” he said. “It is well and truly alive and as I said, I am going by the ten years I worked in residential treatment and the last two years I am out on my own.”
He said the problem was traditionally among young men but over the last year, he is seeing more women reporting issues.
Mr Carey said people who are struggling with their mental health are particularly vulnerable.
“It depends where you’re at emotionally in your own life and I suppose cocaine is no different to having your first drink – unfortunately, if you are a bit emotionally derailed, you dabble and unfortunately, if you dabble often enough or long enough it will grab you,” he said.
“It is like steps of the stairs, the progression of it unfortunately it gets worse and worse the longer you’re on it.”
He said sports clubs used to try and push the problem under the carpet but in recent years, there is a move towards clubs taking on a firmer stance.
He has this advice for anyone who feels they are struggling with a drug issue.
“The biggest thing of all is picking up the phone and reaching out for a bit of help,” he said.
“It sounds so simple verbalising it but for some people who are in the throes of it, it can be an extremely hard thing to do and that is what they need to do first.”
Main image shows former Limerick hurling All-Star Ciarán Carey, 12-09-2020. Image: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
If you are impacted by any of the issues discussed in this article, you can call the National Drug and Alcohol Helpline on 1800 459 459.