Sinn Fein spokesperson on Addiction, Recovery and Wellbeing Thomas Gould TD has said that groups, organisations and service users on the ground must be listened to in a submission made to the mid-term review of the National Drugs Strategy.
Teachta Gould said:
“I requested an up-to-date copy of the progress of actions on the National Drugs Strategy prior to making a submission. Unfortunately, the Junior Minister refused this request.
“I have asked for an opportunity to be made to provide a more detailed submission when the Minister is in a position to provide an up-to-date progress report. The last report provided was a 2019 Annual Review.
“In the submission I made today, I focused on the need to listen to groups, organisations and service users on the ground. These are the experts and they are the best source of information on what is working and what is not.
“It is vital now that the Minister does not hide behind Covid-19 as an excuse to explain the failings in completion of the Action Plan included in the National Drugs Strategy. By the end of 2019, two thirds of the way into the plan, only four actions had been completed.
“The Minister himself has indicated that difficulties in the cross-departmental nature of many of the actions of the plan posed serious challenges.
“Instead of highlighting this, solutions should be found. A cross-departmental group should be established with regular meetings to ensure the strategy is progressed.
“While not perfect, Supporting Recovery, Reducing Harm has many innovative and ambitious goals. We can’t let this have just been a paper exercise.We need to see these goals come to fruition now.
“Addressing addiction is not just important, it is necessary for countless individuals, families and communities across this state.”
Teachta Gould’s submission can be read here.