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Home > Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 324 - Drug rehabilitation clinics [40015/14].

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 324 - Drug rehabilitation clinics [40015/14]. (21 Oct 2014)


324. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of referrals made by the probation service to alcohol and drugs addiction services in 2013 and to date in 2014; and the number of persons engaging with the probation service during this period who also participated in detoxification residential programmes. [40015/14]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald):  The Probation Service engages with the client and appropriate drug treatment providers to ensure that an offender with an addiction problem has access to support appropriate to their level and type of addiction. Referral and access to addiction services is made in a number of ways through addiction workers, self-referral, family members, GPs, drop-in centres, and needle exchange and community support groups. 

Unfortunately, information on the number of clients attending addiction services in the community, residential treatment centres, and the various referral and entry pathways used is not readily available. The compilation of these statistics would require a disproportionate and inordinate amount of staff time and effort to prepare and could not be justified in current circumstances where there are other significant demands on resources.

 However, the Deputy may be interested in two Drugs and Alcohol surveys undertaken by the Probation Service in recent years to ascertain the number of offenders on probation supervision who misused drugs and/or alcohol.

The first survey, published in May 2012, on adult offenders on probation supervision covered almost 3,000 offenders. It found that 89% of the adult offender population had misused drugs or alcohol at some time either currently or in the past. Of the 2,471 offenders that had abused drugs or alcohol, 1,556 (63%) had attended or were attending drug or alcohol treatment.

The second survey, published in October 2013, on young offenders on probation supervision covered over 700 offenders. It found that 87% of the young offender population (under 21 years old) had misused drugs or alcohol at some time either currently or in the past. Of the 628 offenders that had abused drugs or alcohol, 334 (53%) had attended or were attending drug or alcohol treatment. Both surveys are available on www.probation.ie

Finally, the Deputy may recall that I commented when publishing the Parole Board's Annual Report in September on how struck I was by the statistics which highlight how drink and drugs influence criminal offending. I am determined to work with the Agencies under my remit to address the issues involved. It is my intention that a review of alcohol and drugs services for offenders will be undertaken as soon as possible.

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