Drug funding to remain 'limited'
Funding for drug prevention services will have to be spent in the optimum way over the coming years as resources are set to remain tight,Minister State at the Department of Health Róisín Shortall warned today.
Speaking in Dublin at the National Drugs Conference of Ireland, Ms Shortall - who has responsibility for drugs strategy -said practitioners working in the field of intervention would have to remain open to using evidence based ways of fighting addiction in order to make the most of the limited resources on offer.
“We must ensure the limited public funding that is available is used in the most effective and optimum way,” she said. “We need to use this time, this difficult time of recession, as an opportunity to work more creatively and more collaboratively.”
Ms Shortall said the response to drug addiction needed to be client-centred and should ultimately enable service users to address their health, social, housing and employment needs. She pointed to family involvement as an important tool in fighting addiction, saying it increased the likelihood of successful outcomes and decreased the chances of relapse.
Ms Shortall said she would like to see clients move more quickly through methadone programmes and said she was pleased to have this week signed an order branding as many as 60 psychoactive products sold in “head shops” as controlled substances.
She also expressed concern about the wide availability and low price of alcohol across the country. “This is primarily a public health issue requiring a whole of population approach for it to be successfully tackled,” Ms Shortall said. “In short, we need to reduce the amount of alcohol that we as a nation drink. This will involve a wider societal change in attitude and behaviour in order to break our cultural link to alcohol.”
Ms Shortall said she soon expected to receive a report from a steering group with a view to developing national substance misuse strategy which would examine alcohol and drug use.
The Government would then take steps in an attempt to “comprehensively address this national problem”, she added.
The Irish Times
Thursday, November 3, 2011, 12:28
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