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Funding for drug rehabilitation must not be cut in budget ‘09 – Ó Snodaigh

12 September, 2008


Sinn Féin Justice, Equality and Human Rights Spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD, speaking as Merchants Quay Ireland launched its annual report, said the current economic slowdown must not be used as an excuse to cut funds for drug rehabilitation projects in next month's budget.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said investment in drug treatment and rehabilitation will have a positive impact on the economy in the long term.

He said, "The numbers of people presenting for help with drug addiction is at record levels. This is particularly so in the case of heroin addiction. If funds for treatment and rehabilitation are cut many of these addicts who want to come off drugs will not be able to do so and will continue doing whatever they can in order to get money to feed their habits. This will obviously have a negative impact on the economy.

"Drug addicts wishing to come off drugs must be afforded every possible opportunity to do so, not just for their own benefit but for the benefit of the wider community.

"Funds for the Merchant Quay Project have already dropped by 1% this year despite the running costs rising by 5%. This is simply not sustainable in the current climate with hardcore drugs more easily available than ever before.

"The current economic slowdown must not be used as an excuse to cut funds for drug treatment and rehabilitation. Proper investment in all five pillars of the national drugs strategy will have a significantly positive impact on the economy in the longer term." ENDS

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