harm done graphic

When he started to work as a social worker in 1980, Barry Cullen had no particular interest in drug problems. This changed when he was assigned to Dublin’s south inner-city at a time when that area was awash with heroin. The so-called ‘opiate epidemic’ took both the health and criminal justice systems by surprise, compounding the difficulties in working-class neighbourhoods already struggling with a wide range of socioeconomic problems. It was the start of a prolonged heroin crisis, and for Cullen it became an ongoing professional involvement with problem drug use. Although he stumbled into this field, he had a lengthy experience as a service worker, project manager and educator, which are recounted here. The Harm Done is a reflection on how Irish society has dealt with this issue over the past forty years and is an important read for people  interested in, or affected by, drug problems and drug policies. 




a must read

A must read for anyone involved in community development, youth work and drug work at both the practical and policy levels…….a fascinating history of the difficult evolution of policies to tackle Dublin’s drug problems and an impassioned and evidence-based argument for the importance of community-based responses to social problems. Hugh Frazer  — Adjunct Professor, Maynooth University and former Director of the Combat Poverty Agency 

rich history

Documenting the personal, professional and community struggles that he and others have endured, Cullen has captured a rich history of a modern Ireland through a unique lens that commingles a personal story with the politics of the Dublin heroin epidemics and the working-class estates that were devastated in their wakes. Dr Matt Bowden — Academic Lead, Culture & Society Research Hub, Technological University Dublin

compelling account

This compelling account offers a detailed backstory to the harmful stigma, marginalisation and structural inequalities that persist today impacting on the lives of people who use drugs and in communities. Dr Marguerite Woods  — Lecturer, researcher & practitioner

essential read

An essential read for everyone involved in developing and delivering drug policy in Ireland, and accurately captures how unprepared the statutory services were in responding to the drug epidemic. Eddie D’Arcy  — Youth work consultant

intelligent & provocative

Barry Cullen has had a unique and lengthy experience as a service worker, manager and educator in this field, and his memoir is an appropriately intelligent and provocative reflection on the field into which he accidentally stumbled forty years ago. Dr Shane Butler  — Emeritus Fellow, Trinity College Dublin 

deeply moving and trenchant

Combines meticulous research with compelling storytelling to expose the ‘worlds of pain’ experienced by Dubliners in low-income housing estates across several decades. Deeply moving and trenchant in its criticism of the state’s response.  Dr Mary P. Corcoran — Professor of Sociology, Maynooth University

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