Change in approach needed in Government’s approach to drugs and addiction

01 November 2019

Labour Party Leader Brendan Howlin TD., has said that a step change is needed in the Government’s approach to drugs and addiction.

Deputy Howlin commented:

“Deaths from drug misuse have increased massively, from 431 people in 2004 to 736 in 2016, but we have lost the sense of crisis and outrage that this number of deaths should be causing our society.

“There were 106 deaths in transport incidents last year, and these are often avoidable tragedies that we must try harder to prevent. Yet, seven times more people have died from drug misuse without anything like the same level of public outcry. Many of these deaths could be prevented.

“When my colleague Pat Rabbitte set up the commnity task forces in 1997, this was driven by crisis in communities and a desire to address the links between poverty and drug misuse.

“Since then, many improvements have been made in the delivery of addiction services and supports for people moving on from addiction. But the Government has lost focus on the economic roots of drug misuse, and they have failed to restore funding to the drug task forces, despite giving them an increased remit to cover alcohol as well as illegal drugs.

“With the recovery in the national finances, now is the time to put more resources into addressing the root causes of drug addiction, so that we can help individuals and communities whose daily lives are blighted by drugs.”

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