‘National crisis’ as drug treatment services being slashed — Ring

Fianna Fáil has created a time-bomb by cutting back on essential drug treatment services, storing up massive problems for the future, Fine Gael Community Rural and Gaeltacht Spokesman Michael Ring TD warned after the Comptroller and Auditor General’s report published a damning report on drug services.

Deputy Ring said that the findings of the report are “damning” and is a “national crisis”. “The number of people using cannabis and cocaine has shot up during the lifetime of the last drugs strategy, but the treatment rate has not kept pace; some people are waiting up to a year for methadone treatment, with a backlog of 460 people waiting for treatment last year. The number of people successfully ending their methadone treatment is almost zero and detox treatment for opiate is lagging far behind treatment for methadone users.

“The budgets for local drugs task forces have been slashed by 20 per cent, while funding for the Government’s own drugs advisory board has been slashed by 23 per cent. The National Drugs Strategy Team has been disbanded and is unlikely to be replaced at any stage in the near future. This means that no-one is in charge of implementing the drugs strategy.

“Every report published during the lifetime of the last National Drugs Strategy has warned that the drugs problem is spiralling out of control. There is no detailed information on the type of drug users, or on their progress in treatment. And to cap it all, there hasn’t been a drugs strategy since the last one expired last year.:

The Deputy concluded that: “Fianna Fáil has been happy to turn its back on the drugs problem, possibly because the Government doesn’t care about the large number of users from an impoverished underclass. But drugs are being used increasingly by all sections of society. This is truly a national crisis.”

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