Peter McVerry Trust, the national housing and homeless charity, has welcomed the publication of the new National Drugs Strategy. The charity, which provides drug treatment services as part of its mission to tackle drug misuse and homelessness, has said that the strategy would bring about significant improvements in the availability of drug treatment supports and services.
Speaking at the launch Pat Doyle, CEO, said “The new National Drugs Strategy is a significant improvement on what has gone before. It offers the potential to achieve a major shift in how we view and respond to the issues relating to drugs and the individuals and communities that are impacted by them. It also offers scope to significantly improve the availability and appropriateness of drug treatment services meaning more people can secure better services locally.”
Mr Doyle said the charity was particularly pleased to see commitments made to increase the number of detox, stabilisation and rehabilitation beds provided under the scheme and the strengthening of measures to prevent people ending up homeless once they had completed residential treatment.
“At the moment we do not have enough residential treatment beds and follow on drug free accommodation. The new measures announced today will speed up access to residential treatment and ensure that appropriate drug free accommodation and ultimately housing is available to those who go through treatment but who are at risk of homelessness.”
“Overall, the new National Drugs Strategy should lead to improved access to, and resourcing of, drug treatment services for people in homelessness.”
Resourcing and Roll-Out
Mr Doyle said that a significant increase in funding is now required to get the new Strategy up and running. “Now that the strategy has been published it must be implemented quickly and to do that there must be a significant and immediate increase in funding in Budget 2018 otherwise many of the important elements may not be implemented quickly enough.”
Mr Doyle said he also hoped that strong comments in support of the new strategy from the Taoiseach would see better political backing at local level for drug treatment services. “An Taoiseach in his comments today very clearly recognised that not enough has been done to support the individuals and communities impacted by drugs. Peter McVerry Trust hopes that his comments and support for the strategy will see local politicians respond positively to the development of appropriate drug treatment services in their communities. All too often these services are opposed and people in need cannot get access to the treatment they need in their local area.”