Home > Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 56 - National Drugs Strategy [Treatment] [31277/06].

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 56 - National Drugs Strategy [Treatment] [31277/06]. (05 Oct 2006)

External website: https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates/debate/dail/2...

56. Ms McManus asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs his views on a new report commissioned by the National Advisory Committee on Drugs and carried out by the National University of Ireland, Maynooth which shows a significant reduction in drug use and involvement in crime among serious drug users after one year's treatment; if, in view of this report, he will expand treatment and rehabilitation services. [31277/06]

Minister of State at the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs (Mr. N. Ahern): I launched the Research Outcome Study in Ireland (ROSIE) evaluating drug treatment effectiveness in September. The study shows that the Government’s investment in drug treatment is producing tangible positive results. This NACD-commissioned study (under Action 99 of the NDS) involved 404 people who were recruited when entering treatment for opiate use. They were then interviewed periodically and changes were observed and documented. The study group included those on methadone maintenance, structured detoxification and abstinence-based treatment, involving both in-patient and out-patient settings. The geographical spread represented the provision of services and inner-city, urban and rural areas were involved. There was a 75/25 mix of male and female participants.

The key messages from the outcomes at the end of the first year are as follows: significant reductions in heroin and other drug use; 27% abstinent from all drugs after 1 year (this compared to 7% at treatment intake); extensive reductions in drug injecting (both in the number of days and the number of times per day); improvements in physical and mental health; extensive reductions in criminal activity; increased contact with health and social care services; and low mortality rate (2 people); I welcome this research which provides reassurance that the Government’s drug treatment initiatives are showing positive results, thus benefiting drug misusers, their families and their wider communities. The expansion of treatment and rehabilitation services, where necessary, has always been a cornerstone of the National Drugs Strategy and this will continue to be the case. Meanwhile, I have decided to extend the ROSIE study to track those who participated in it over a three-year period so that the medium term impact of treatment can be monitored.

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