May 26, 2021
‘Shocking’ SURA report on methadone should prompt urgent action – Thomas Gould TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Addiction, Recovery and Wellbeing, Thomas Gould TD, has today called on the government to immediately act to ensure that service users are treated in a humane way as they attempt to enter recovery.

His comments follow a report published today by Service Users’ Rights in Action (SURA) which outlines an outdated and dehumanising regime around the use of methadone.

Teachta Gould said:

“Entering recovery is a big step for people and one that is difficult. I have been saying for months now that we need to remove barriers from people who are trying to leave active addiction.

“From the cost of assessment, the wait times for rehabilitation and the risk of losing social housing supports people trying to enter into recovery must jump over hurdle after hurdle. This is unacceptable and urgent action is needed to resolve this.

“The SURA report on methadone today highlights another struggle faced by those attempting to overcome an addiction. Clearly, service users are not supported to find alternative treatments to methadone.

“With 51% of respondents in treatment for over 16 years and 97% never having been offered an alternative treatment, there is clearly a gap in services here.

“Methadone should be a bridge to recovery where possible, not the final step. While there has been welcome steps in the provision of Opiod-substitute treatment in the past year, this cannot come at the expense of alternative therapies and supports which would see people living entirely drug-free.

“Reintegrating into work, education and communities must be at the forefront of the supports we provide to those in recovery. I’ve contacted SURA today looking to meet with them and discuss their alternative proposals.

“Sinn Féin believes in listening to people who have lived experience of working in, or utilising, addiction services and being guided by their expertise.

“I hope that the report acts as a wake-up call for the government. We cannot continue to allow those in addiction and recovery to be an afterthought. Forward planning and innovative thinking are needed to reduce the harm addiction is having on individuals, families and communities across this state.”

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