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Home > 14. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs his views on the fact that the shortfall in detox and rehabilitation beds identified by the expert working group appointed by the Health Service Executive is hindering progress in terms of implementing the national drugs strategy; and if he has approached the Departments of Health and Children and Finance with a view to addressing the shortfall. [5439/08]

[Oireachtas] 14. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs his views on the fact that the shortfall in detox and rehabilitation beds identified by the expert working group appointed by the Health Service Executive is hindering progress in terms of implementing the national drugs strategy; and if he has approached the Departments of Health and Children and Finance with a view to addressing the shortfall. [5439/08]. (14 Feb 2008)

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Minister of State at the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs (Deputy Pat Carey): The Report of the Working Group on Drugs Rehabilitation made a series of recommendations for the development of a comprehensive rehabilitation pillar under the National Drugs Strategy. The Programme for Government contains a commitment to implement these recommendations, including the provision of extra detox beds. A subsequent HSE Working Group, which focused on residential treatment needs arising from alcohol and drug misuse, also recommended increased detox facilities. I can assure the Deputy that I am working to ensure that the commitment in regard to extra detox beds is fulfilled. I have had discussions with both the Departments of Health & Children and Finance regarding this matter and, indeed, I met with Minister Harney last month with regard to progressing the implementation of the recommendations of the Rehabilitation Report.

In this context, it should be noted that my Department received additional funding of €12.5m for drugs initiatives in 2008 and part of this will be used for rehabilitation initiatives. Already this year, I have announced capital funding of €1.5m to eleven projects, a number of which focus on rehabilitation. While the shortfall in detox and other residential rehabilitation facilities needs to be addressed further, I do not see this as hindering progress in terms of implementing the National Drugs Strategy. On the contrary, I see the increased focus on rehabilitation, which was added as a fifth pillar of the National Drugs Strategy following a Mid-term Review, as being very important in ensuring that the Strategy can cover the drugs problem in a comprehensive way.

The Rehabilitation Report highlights the need for inter-agency co-operation and the need to ensure that there is a continuum of care in place for problem drug users coming out of either detox or other residential rehabilitation treatment. It is within the context of the overall rehabilitation effort that any additional detoxification and residential beds need to be considered so as to achieve a seamless progression by the client through the rehabilitation process. I am confident that real progress will be made on the implementation of the recommendations of the Working Group on Drugs Rehabilitation in the short-term and I look forward to the benefits that this will bring to recovering drug users.

Vol. 647 No. 2

Written Answerss

Thursday, 14 February 2008

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