Thursday, 18 February 2021
Covid-19 (Drug and Alcohol Services, and Homelessness): Statements
Gary Gannon (Dublin Central, Social Democrats)
The Minister of State referenced the drug-related intimidation project work, which was an initiative of the National Family Support Network. It is very important to state that the role referenced by the Minister of State ceased almost a month and a half ago. It was a success, but has now been defunded. One of the last acts of the project was the commissioning of a report which demonstrated that in a very small part of the north inner city more than 20% of respondents who were surveyed said they had suffered from drug-related intimidation.
There is an urgent need to get this right. I would strongly encourage the Minister of State to not just to get it right in my constituency and draw a line around it, but to get it right all over the country. We need a new model and approach to how we deal with the consequences of drugs. It needs to be trauma informed and led. I would be happy to partake in those discussions. We should widen them and there should be a collective effort because for more than 40 or 45 years we have applied the same mechanisms in our response to drugs and we keep getting the same old outcomes, namely, continued marginalisation, violence and deprivation. I would love to partake of those discussions.
I ask the Minister of State to factor us in. The discussions should be evidence led. Let us stop repeating the mistakes of the past. Most specifically, we should stop criminalising people who have experienced huge trauma and are self-medicating for that reason. If we can get one thing right over the course of the next few years, it would be to fundamentally change how we deal with this issue as a Republic.