Youth drugs counselling vacancy must be filled - Crowe
Dublin South West TD Seán Crowe has said he has written to the Health Minister James Reilly seeking assurances that an important counselling post within the existing Youth Drugs and Alcohol Service (YoDA) in Tallaght will not be the victim of cuts and that key posts will be maintained by the Health Service Executive (HSE).
Deputy Crowe was responding to proposals by the Health Service Executive to not fill a youth counselling job vacancy, which he said would have a serious impact on young people who have substance abuse problems.
Deputy Seán Crowe;
“According to the HSE’s own website, YoDA ensures that appropriate services and treatment are provided to young people with substance abuse problems and aims to reduce the harm caused to minors by their drug or alcohol use.
“A UNICEF Ireland report published in 2011 showed widespread drug and alcohol consumption among young people and the pivotal role these substances play in their lives.
“Communities like Tallaght have been hugely affected and many families and their neighbourhoods have paid a heavy price for the widespread availability of illegal drugs like benzodiazepines, cocaine and heroin.
“We know that the proliferation of drugs, the crisis and its fall out is affecting every town and village in Ireland.
“It is a very lucky family that has not been affected by this growing crisis.
“The Minister for Health James O Reilly has to realise the importance of the very limited resources that are currently in place to deal with this complex issue. They must at the very least be maintained at their current levels.
“There are huge concerns in Tallaght that a YoDA Counsellor who resigned earlier this year will not be replaced by the HSE in a move that would have serious implications for adolescents living in this particular area.
“If this is allowed to happen in an area like Tallaght, then there is a danger that it will be replicated in other areas that have an addiction challenge.
“Clearly, in these difficult economic times, young people are facing enormous challenges and those who succumb to alcohol or drugs abuse need support and encouragement, otherwise they face a very bleak future.
“I have asked the Health Minister James Reilly to clarify matters and offer assurances that posts like this will be filled immediately.
“We need to see greater evidence that the minister and his Government see the tens of thousands of young people living with addiction as a priority and that frontline counselling services will be maintained.”