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Statistics from six county Needle and Syringe scheme ‘alarming’

16 August, 2007

Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Children and Young People, West Belfast MLA Sue Ramsey has called on the Health Minister to address the drug epidemic affecting Ireland after the Department of Health published the latest statistics on the needle and syringe exchange scheme showed almost 10,000 visits in the year to needle exchange programmes.

She said,

"I fully acknowledge the sterling work that the nine participating pharmacies are doing to provide a safer avenue for drug addicts and users. However the 14% increase (up 1200 visits, bringing the total up to 9997) in visits to the needle and syringe exchange programme must send shockwaves through the Health Ministers office.

"What we need is progressive action from Michael McGimpsey and proof that he is acting in a forthright manner to combat years of British misrule and indifference to socio-economic issues in the six counties. Sinn Féin is committed to tackling the epidemic of drug misuse throughout the island of Ireland. We need a multi-agency response including treatment and education, arrests and convictions and that also provides proper support for the efforts of local communities in challenging drug use." ENDS

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