Sinn Féin spokesperson on Addiction, Recovery and Wellbeing, Thomas Gould TD, has today launched the party’s Community Addiction and Recovery Strategy.
The policy document seeks to revolutionise how addiction and recovery are approached in Ireland, by viewing addiction as a healthcare issue and calling for a community-led approach.
Speaking today, Teachta Gould said:
“I am proud to be launching Sinn Féin’s Community Addiction and Recovery Strategy today. This is an in-depth and detailed document which I believe can revolutionise how the government approaches the topics of addiction and recovery.
“For far too long, governments in this state have approached addiction as an issue of criminality and by focusing on individuals, at the expense of realising the wider community impact and health issues involved. They have also failed to give this important issue the attention, care and funding that it deserves. I believe this is an outdated model which must be updated for the 21st century.
“Everyone who experiences addiction deserves timely support to help them towards recovery and ensure they get the support they need. We must be ambitious in our vision for addressing addiction and delivering for people who are affected.
“Our proposals incorporate a community-led model, which views addiction as a healthcare issue.
“It’s time to listen to the experts and view addiction as a healthcare issue. This is the best way to ensure people get the help that they need to recover.
“Dual Diagnosis is a diagnosis whereby people have both a mental health diagnosis and an addiction diagnosis. For too long now, lip-service has been played to the need for Dual Diagnosis Services, but no government action has been taken. A Dual Diagnosis Working Group was established in 2017 and yet there still is no state-wide service. Sinn Féin would end this shameful impasse and deliver Dual Diagnosis Services.
“Gambling addiction is sadly all too common, yet the Government is failing to act and support people who need help. Sinn Féin would establish a Gambling Prevalence Survey to ascertain levels of need. We would also move the issue of gambling addiction to the remit of the Department of Health and bring forward a Gambling Control Bill.
“Our proposals also outline how we would move away from over-governance and towards a model of community-led sustainability and recovery that would allow the identification and tackling of area-specific issues.
“We would ring fence a percentage of money from CAB seizures to support Drug and Alcohol Taskforces in establishing and maintaining community services and supports and ensure that the funding returns to the communities most affected by the illicit drug trade.
“As part of this holistic, community-led approach, we would also create sports grants for clubs and organisations inclusive of those in recovery.
“We would also ensure additional support to meet the needs of people living in rural areas, such as by working with the Department of Health to explore the provision of free transportation services for people living in rural communities to access community treatment service.
“Recognising substance misuse as a community, and not individual, harm is at the core of Sinn Féin’s approach to addiction. We will be there to support communities to recover from the harm addiction has caused to them. We have listened to services and we know that the people on the ground, day in and day out, are the experts.
“This policy includes three innovative and exciting pilot projects that will fill gaps where vulnerable people often fall through the cracks. A first-of-its kind Alcohol Related Brain Injury service will be established and will support people through physical and mental interventions. This is a state of the art programme that will finally see those with an Alcohol Related Brain injury treated properly in this state.
“The establishment of a women’s One Stop Shop will support the most vulnerable women in addiction in accessing many of the much-needed services in one place. Too often women especially struggle to match caring roles with the numerous appointments and this one-stop shop will consolidate these so that everything from healthcare to social welfare support can be found in one place.
“Finally, a pilot project – modelled similarly to Housing First – will see those leaving addiction treatment be given access to their own apartment and wraparound services for those vital months as they transition back into their community. Almost every group I met raised this time as the most difficult for people attempting recovery. We believe that supporting people when they are making the right choices will enable them to continue on the path to recovery.
“I want to thank all those in the sector who have engaged with me and shared their expertise and experiences to shape these proposals.
“Our proposals are an ambitious and deliverable vision for supporting people with addiction and wider communities. I believe that these policies would revolutionise how the government approaches these issues and finally empower people affected to get the change they want to see.”