Sinn Féin spokesperson on Addiction, Recovery and Wellbeing, Thomas Gould TD, has called on the Government to urgently roll out addiction education programmes in primary and post-primary school settings as committed to in the Programme for Government.
Teachta Gould’s comments come in response to PQs from the Minister for Education, Norma Foley, who gave no indication of plans for such a programme. An Taoiseach Micheál Martin had promised that work would begin on this as quickly as possible in July last year.
Teachta Gould said:
“I am very disappointed that the Government continues to fail to meet its commitment under the Programme for Government to implement addiction education programmes.
“I asked Minister Foley when these programmes will be ready to go and she has responded with a lot of bluff about the existing SPHE programme.
“It appears, we are continuing with the status quo by kicking the can down the road on this issue. This is something that I have been pushing for months now. Figures show that drug misuse is increasing massively in our young people and these trends need to be reversed.
“Now is the time for the Department of Education and Department of Health to work proactively, as promised by the Taoiseach and Minister Feighan, to roll out educational programmes on the misuse of drugs across the country at primary and post-primary levels of school.
“It’s time to start being proactive. For too long now, successive governments have just shrugged their shoulders on the issues of addiction and drug misuse.”