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Government Failing Southeast as Drug Addiction on the Increase

26 August, 2008

;                   Sergent                     Garda             Total
31/12/2003               2                                  7                      9
31/12/2004                   2               &

Following yesterday’s publication of a major HSE report highlighting an increase in the number of people seeking drug treatment in the southeast Sinn Féin Waterford City Councillor David Cullinane has demanded the government prioritise the provision of front-line services in the next National Drugs Strategy.


Speaking from Waterford Cllr. Cullinane said


“The southeast has a chronic shortage of drug addiction Counsellors’ and has just a single methadone clinic for the entire region.

“Sufficient funding to secure frontline services must be a priority deliverable from the governments National Drugs Strategy.

“Government and the HSE are hindering the delivery of the curre#160;                  7                      9
31/12/2005                   2                               12                     14
31/12/2006                   2                              nt National Drugs Strategy. The HSE recruitment ban or ‘employment controls’ are preventing the replacement of staff who have left existing drug treatment services and in addition it is preventing the introduction of new much needed services even where funding for same has already been approved.  


“By its own admission the HSE are short more than 350 detox and rehab beds.  They have less than half the beds currently required. There is a lack of treatment services across the board in the Southeast.

“Under Budget 2008 finance to the Drugs Initiative/Young Peoples Facilities and Services Fund which includes the NDS is to be €64 million. Contrast this figure with the Horse and Greyhound Racing Fund which is to receive €76.6 million it is clear where this government’s priorities lie.


31/12/2007               2                               12                     14
Drugs Unit
Date                           Sergent                     Garda   &="msonormal"> “The Regional Drugs Taskforce is under-resourced while the Waterford City task force receives no funding at all. It is crucial that adequate funding is provided for community drug based initiatives and programmes and for increased community gardaí.”

“The new National Drugs Strategy must ensure that funding to frontline services is sufficient and secure.  Staff should not be unduly hindered with endless paperwork as is currently the case when seeking funding.
"It is not surprising that this latest HSE report shows that 64% of those seeking treatment for addiction were treated for alcohol problems. However any move to include alcohol under the remit of the NDS must be given very careful consideration.


“While there are obvious advantages for the treatment of poly-drug users involvin#160;         Total
31/12/2003               1                                  4                     5
31/12/2004                   1                                  5                     6
31/12/g alcohol, there is a real danger that illicit drugs would get lost alongside the nation’s mammoth and culturally entrenched problems with the legal drug of alcohol.  Funding to the NDS would have to been increased by many multiples if such an extension were to be at all feasible.

“Successful pilot schemes must be mainstreamed without undue delay and with the necessary additional funding.  The Justice Minister has indicated that the Dial to Stop Drug dealing scheme is to be rolled out.  We have been calling for this since 2006. This must happen without further delay and like its successful pilot in Blanchardstown it must be a confidential ‘non-Garda’ line.  It is this characteristic which allows it to serve as a bridge between communities and Gardaí.

“Under the new National Drugs Strategy communities and Joint Policing Committees should have a role informing the allocati2005                   1                                  5                     6
31/12/2006                   1                                  6                     7
31/12/2007             &on of Garda resources and Garda operations in particular those of the national and local drugs squads. I have made the case directly to Chief Superintendent Mr. Pat Murphy for a doubling of the local Drugs Unit. This unit currently stands at 8 and in my view are not sufficient to deal with the growing drugs problem. I have made a detailed submission to the local garda division plan suggesting positive changes in many areas.”
“For any new drug strategy to be successful it is absolutely essential that the Government recognises the gravity of the drugs crisis and matches it with the adequate resources to combat it.  This has not been the case heretofore as evidenced by the pitiful resources put into the current National Drugs Strategy.” ENDS

Note to Editor – Please find below a response received from the Minister for Justice by Sinn Féin regarding the make #160; 1                                  7          up of the Waterford drugs unit. It shows the personnel strength of the Waterford district in total and of a number of units.

Date               Chief Supt    Supt   Insp    Sergt  Garda             Total31/12/2003            1                 2          5          22        120              150
21/12/2004           1   &

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