A HSE helpline has received more than 3,100 calls about possible drug-poisoning this year.

The National Poisons Information Centre helps the medical profession and the public manage acute-poisoning.

Details released under the Freedom of Information Act show it has received 5,500 calls about suspected human-poisoning this year.

While more than half relate to drugs, Dublin city GP Austin O’Carroll said many cases are not about illegal substances.

But he does think there is a huge problem in this area.

“Illicit drug use is very prevalent,” he said.

“I work in the inner city and I work a lot with homeless people and we would see a huge amount of drugs use.

“We have a lot of facilities to treat drug use, which is fantastic, but we badly need others.

“We definitely need to to take people off the streets, I see people injecting on the streets and the effect of that injecting in dirty, unsafe facilities – I had a person die this week already, a patient of mine.”

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