Drug Alcohol Addiction Programme


Addiction is a crisis issue within the Traveller community.  Although Travellers make up less than 1% of the population, Travellers represented 3% of treatment episodes in addiction services in 2021.  Substance use treatment in the community increased from 8 to 14.8% between 2014 and 2021.   There was a staggering 525% increase in cocaine treatment in the same years.

Pavee Point views substance misuse through a social determinant’s lens, placing addictions predominantly as a consequence of trauma caused by the Travellers’ experiences of poverty, exclusion, racism, and discrimination.

Travellers accessing drug treatment services.

  1. Median age of treatment is 29 years
  2. Men 75% woman 25%
  3. 2021 Benzo use is 4% higher for Travellers (15.6%) than the general population (11.5%)
  4. 2021 Opioids use is 3% higher (36.4%) compared to general population (33.3%)

2007 – 2021 Traveller community

HRB, 2021.

Pavee Point Drug and Alcohol Programme


The Pavee Point Drug and Alcohol Programme (DAP) has been operating for over 20 years, initially established as a response to significant reported illegal substance misuse emerging in the community.

DAP is informed and guided by community development principles and values.  We endeavour to use these principles in all our work with people, networks, service providers, government agencies.

The programme aims to:

  1. Strengthen Traveller participation in responding to substance misuse issues
  2. Continue to develop and support a Traveller analysis of substance misuse issues
  3. Ensure Traveller inclusion in all relevant drug policy and research
  4. Develop, design and deliver a range of training to services working with Travellers
  5. Support Traveller organisations respond to substance use



DAP is active on various local and national initiatives. We are members of the National Voluntary Drug and Alcohol Sector and City-Wide Drugs Campaign. In CHO 9 we also host a group of local services managers and project workers with the goal of sharing best practices and coordinating responses to Traveller outreach and inreach.

We support drug projects such as Finglas Addiction Support Team and D17 Assertive Case Management to create treatment pathways for Travellers through training, advice and Traveller proofing.  We also liaise with the HSE Social Inclusion team to support and improve access for Travellers to drug services.


Policy Work

DAP has a long history of policy engagement and is currently represented on National Drug Strategies – Strategic Implementation Group 2 where we lobby for improved policies and strategic actions to further develop Traveller specific addiction infrastructure and improvements in mainstream services.


Community Development

In partnership with UISCE, the National Advocacy Service for People who use Drugs in Ireland, DAP  supports the Traveller Drug Advisory Group.  This is a group of Travellers with lived experience of substance misuse. The work includes developing a critical analysis of drug misuse in the community and how it relates to racism and exclusion.  The group has 3 main aims:

1) to change the situation of Travellers by influencing drug and alcohol policy and

2) to shine a light on Traveller addiction and how it relates to racism

3) to change attitudes within the community so more people will seek help


National Traveller Drug Network

This network is hosted by Pavee Point DAP and facilitates information sharing between network members and supports a Traveller analysis of addiction.


Thomas McCarthy, Co Ordinator, Drug & Alcohol Programme

Email: thomas.mccarthy@pavee.ie

John Paul Collins, Community Development Worker

Email: Johnpaul.collins@pavee.ie

Tel:  01 8780255 extension 128