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Connolly, Johnny (2014) Barriers or bridges? Drugnet Ireland, Issue 50, Summer 2014, p. 24.

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A CityWide consultation report on the impact of budgetary cuts on Drug Rehabilitation Projects (DRPs) has identified significant challenges for such projects in terms of maintaining their crucial work with recovering drug users.1 The report concludes that changes introduced to the Community Employment scheme in order to increase its focus on labour market activation have not taken into account the distinct role of DRPs. In particular, the research found that recent budgetary changes had led to a change in the profile of those applying for places on the projects. The major impact is ‘on the one hand, the fall in applications for places [on DRPs] from people who are on One Parent Family Payment or Disability payments and the increase in applications from people who are on Job Seekers Payment’ (p.30). 

As set up, DRPs were largely based on a model of working with people who were on methadone and attending clinics. They also provided a financial incentive for people parenting alone and for those in receipt of disability payments to address their addiction problems. Budget 2012, the report concludes, ‘wiped out’ this incentive. The majority of projects have seen a decrease in the number of women joining projects and ‘a spike in applications from younger men over the past two years; this younger cohort may never have used heroin, but use a cocktail of illegal drugs, tablets and alcohol. This provides a more challenging environment in which to deliver rehabilitation programmes’ (p.30). 

Calling for a change in the way such projects are managed in the future, Anna Quigley, co-ordinator of CityWide, stated at the launch of this report: ‘We must address the issues identified in the report if we are to maintain and build on the achievements and successes of DRPs in our communities to date. The DRPs were set up and are operating as a core element of the National Drugs Strategy and an urgent review to address these issues should take place through the structures of the NDS led by Minister Alex White TD.’ 

1. CityWide Drugs Crisis Campaign (2014) Barriers or bridges? Drugs rehabilitation projects – the road to recovery. A CityWide consultation report. Dublin: CityWide. www.drugsandalcohol.ie/21512. See also the two related videos at www.drugsandalcohol.ie/21589.

Item Type
Publication Type
Irish-related, Open Access, Article
Drug Type
All substances
Intervention Type
Rehabilitation/Recovery, Policy
Issue Title
Issue 50, Summer 2014
July 2014
Page Range
p. 24
Health Research Board
Issue 50, Summer 2014
Accession Number
HRB (Electronic Only)

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