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No expense to be spared in fight against drugs – Ó Snodaigh

27 April, 2007

Speaking at a Merchant Quay debate on the drugs crisis today Sinn Féin Justice Spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD said no expense will be spared by Sinn Féin in the fight against drugs as the cost of failure is too high. Outlining what Sinn Féin believes should be the priorities for the next National Drugs Strategy Deputy Ó Snodaigh again reiterated his call for the reinstatement of a Minister with sole responsibility for the implementation of the strategy.

He said, "The many outstanding actions contained in the current National Drugs Strategy must be resourced and implemented with a new energy, under a Minister with sole responsibility for its implementation working in real partnership with communities and families.

"Treatments must be made available on demand. And a joined-up holistic approach aimed at meeting the complex needs of problem drug users must be central to delivery. Users will need a variety, and diverse combination, of interventions - medical, psychological and social.

"Rehabilitation has also got to be a major priority. In particular routes into employment and the elimination of unjustifiable discrimination on grounds associated with past drug problems are pressing issues.

"Family supports is another huge priority. The families of problem drug users often experience a form of secondary trauma they also often suffer the financial consequences of a loved ones addiction and even direct violence from drug dealers and money lenders. A range of supports need to be developed in partnership and resourced. From financial support for grandparents who have become the primary carer of children on foot of problem drug use through to practical and counselling supports and protections for families affected.

"The supply side also requires attention. Building community trust and confidence in the Gardaí must be a priority.

"No expense will be spared by Sinn Féin. The cost of a failure to invest is too high. We believe that a massive investment now will not only save money down the line but will actually pay dividends. If we invest now in treatment, rehabilitation and the creation of educational, training and employment opportunities then people who might otherwise be lost to drug addiction will become economically active contributing to growth and in turn to state revenues." ENDS

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