Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children

Drug Addiction and Recovery Models: Discussion

9:30 am

Photo of Jillian van TurnhoutJillian van Turnhout (Independent) | Oireachtas source

I appreciate the presentation from the witnesses. I am mindful that people are substance misusing. The witnesses referred to the recovered. It is a question of the transition period and the services during that transition period. Professor Barry commented on the homeless wet hostels. I was thinking of that because I have received representations from Dual Diagnosis Ireland about the issues of mental health and substance misuse. Often we have different pathways for someone to get support, help and recovery, but we do not always see the interconnectedness. Let us consider the homeless situation. I am not trying to compound the issue but the reality is that there is interconnectedness between these issues. How we as a society response to these issues is relevant. Often we force people into homelessness because we do not have an appropriate mechanism to deal with it.

I am still trying to work it out in my head. I agree with everything I hear from the witnesses. How do we move from being good on paper to actual implementation? What are the tangible items that, as parliamentarians, we should be calling for? The idea is that I can leave here saying clearly what is needed.

How do we ensure the approach is replicated throughout Ireland? While I understand that methadone is rather Dublin-based, the reality is that on the basis of the figures given by the deputation, it is not limited to one area. Certainly, we have no wish to be moving people into an area simply because that is where they will get services and support. How do we ensure the approach is agreed? We have a geographical lottery and, therefore, a consistent approach is important.

The drugs strategy is due to end in 2016. We seem to have a number of strategies that will end of 2016. What work has been done? How much consultation has there been with the organisations and those involved with the delivery of services? Is there a move to consider an implementation plan rather than an additional strategy? Perhaps we could take some of the principles from the current strategy and move the document more towards deciding which Department should take a lead. Ideally, it should be a Government strategy rather than a departmental strategy. That is what occurred in the children area and with the Healthy Ireland initiative. I am trying to see where the process lies. It is something about which I am concerned.


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