The Merchants Quay charity has said homelessness and drug use is growing across the country.

In its annual review, the organisation said demand on its services is increasing, with three-quarters of clients now reporting addiction to a variety of drugs.

It also recorded a 10% increase in needle exchange visits last year with more than 500 new clients.

Merchants Quay opened a residential detoxification centre in co Carlow last year with a facility to include benzodiazepines withdrawal.

These are drugs usually prescribed as sleeping tablets and tranquilisers.

Now half the patients at the 20-bed facility are being treated for addiction to these prescription drugs.

In its report the charity said three-quarters of those accessing its needle exchange in Dublin are now taking a variety of drugs, with heroin, alcohol and benzodiazepines being the most common combination.

Due to cutbacks, the organisation is now running a deficit and CEO Tony Geoghegan has called on the Government to honour its commitment to social justice.

Merchants Quay also said drug use is continuing to increase around the country, with nearly half those on its residential rehabilitation course in Dublin from outside the capital.