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 Mary Mitchell O'ConnorMary Mitchell O'Connor (Dún Laoghaire, Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

Today has been very uplifting. The witnesses spoke about stigma and discrimination. I read in one of the reports that people with drug issues and drug problems are a target of moralistic judgments, and I often hear that as a Deputy in the community. It is gratifying and uplifting, therefore, to read that the witnesses are talking about recovery because sometimes drug addicts are just written off. We will give them methadone, which is fine, and let them get out of town as quickly as we can get them out, and everything is back to normal.

I want to ask about methadone, given I only know what I hear, which is that 30% of patients have been attending drug clinics for more than 20 years. As a question to Professor Barry, if methadone were withdrawn, and there are those in the community who say it should be, what would be the outcome? I understand the issue of education, but education and issues like housing are long-term solutions, although we have to work towards that. In the short term, if methadone were withdrawn, what would be the result?

The service in a town is called the drugs clinic, which I think is a terrible name. It should be the recovery clinic. One would think people were going there to get drugs. Is counselling among the services currently provided in different towns?

I loved the sound of Mr. McAleenan's model and what he is doing. He should, please, keep doing it. I hope we can talk to him later about what we as Deputies can do in our areas. Those are the questions I wanted to ask.


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