Thursday, 14 April 2011
National Substance Misuse Strategy
Éamon Ó Cuív (Galway West, Fianna Fail)
I noted what the Minister had to say about responsibility for the national drugs strategy transferring to the Department for Health and Children, which seems to infer the drugs problem is primarily a medical problem. It surely is a medical problem, but as we all know, much of it relates to the structures of communities. The reason it was placed in the Department of Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs was to tackle the wider community issues which in many cases gave rise to concentrated drug problems, particularly involving the use of heroin. Will the wide range of community programmes built up over the years which dealt with the wider issues of planning, intergenerational disadvantage and social deprivation in certain areas be continued under the Department of Health and Children or will the Department take the view that this is purely an individual health problem rather than a societal and community problem, which is the case with a large part of the drugs problem here?
I join in congratulating the Minister. It is good to see four graduates of the Seanad in the Dáil Chamber at the one time. Would we be in the Dáil if there had been no Seanad? The Minister might answer that question too.