Heads Up: Preventing and Responding to Overdose in McGarry House

Novas Initiatives

May 2014

Type of work


Novas Initiatives Heads up reportWhat they wanted

McGarry House is a homeless hostel in Limerick that works with people with complex needs, including high-risk drug use. They wanted to better understand the experiences of overdose among their clients, and their level of risk for overdose.

What we did

We worked with the staff and clients to develop a better understanding of their experiences, and produced 13 recommendations for clients, for McGarry, and for other service providers and commissioners on how to reduce and respond to overdoses. The recommendations included developing a peer overdose response programme, an inter-agency harm –reduction system and a service for high risk pregnant women.

Download the Full Report     Download the Executive Summary

What they said

Working with Quality Matters in addressing a serious health issue like overdose within the homeless sector was an eye-opening experience. Their commitment and dedication as well as their professionalism and sensitivity around the subject matter and those who experienced overdose was commendable and made the research a very real and live piece of data. Novas hope to use this important work to push the issue of overdose onto the national agenda and ultimately reduce the numbers of homeless persons overdosing by providing real and accessible safety mechanisms. Novas hope to continue their relationship with Quality Matters in addressing issues that affect those most marginalised in our communities…

Ann Cronin, Head of Services, Novas Initiatives