A homeless charity has said it is experiencing what it describes as a "huge rise" in drug use by those in emergency accommodation.

In its annual report, Depaul said there were 127 suspected overdoses in its facilities last year. This was an increase of 81% compared to the previous year. 

Staff had to use the overdose antidote drug Naloxone 60 times which is a 150% increase year on year.

Depaul's CEO David Carroll said that the increased use of crack cocaine and prescription drugs was a noticeable trend and called for more health interventions including safe injection facilities.

"It is clear from the amount of lives saved and suspected overdoses within our services that we are dealing with a growing drug problem. We have witnessed a huge rise in poly-substance addictions where the people we work with are addicted to two or more types of drug.

"This is an alarming trend as it can be extremely difficult to treat a person who presents with multiple addictions," he said.

The charity has also called for more action to house single people who are increasingly becoming stuck in emergency accommodation. It found that the number of 'move ons' or those going from emergency accommodation to their own home had fallen by 18%.

Speaking on RTÉ's Today with Sean O'Rourke, Mr Carroll said the rising drug trends among those in emergency accommodation are reflective of the wider community.

However, he said there has been major progress in addressing the problem.

Mr Carroll said the charity has worked closely with a number of agencies in order to provide a 24-hour service and wrap-around service for those who need help.

Last year, Depaul found homes for 636 people compared to 774 in 2017 while the overall number of people it helped had increased by 9% in the same period.

It says that the average rent for a one bedroom apartment in Dublin is €1,500 while the maximum HAP payment for a single person is only €990. 

Mr Carroll said options for single homeless people are "incredibly limited" and they tended to stay in homelessness for longer periods. 

The number of homeless single people has increased by 70% in under five years according to the report from 2,310 in December 2014 to 3,945 now. 

The report also states that there were 15 babies born to women in Depaul's services - 11 in its own accommodation and 4 in community services. 

Overall the charity provided 604 beds each night and helped a total of 4,333 men, women and children last year.