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Home > Seanad Éireann debate. Drug treatment programmes.

[Oireachtas] Seanad Éireann debate. Drug treatment programmes. (21 Nov 2019)

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Senator Jerry Buttimer: I welcome the Minister of State, Deputy Byrne, to the House. I pay tribute to her for the commitment, work and vision she has shown in her role. I thank her for being here this morning. As Members will know, there has been a significant increase in certain types of drug use in many parts of the city. I sit on the joint policing committees for both Cork county and Cork city. We have heard presentations on this issue. I commend the collaborative approach being taken by the HSE and the local drugs task force and praise Mr. David Lane, Cuan Mhuire and the Tabor Group for the work they are doing.


The significance increase in the use of cocaine and other drugs is, as the Minister of State knows, a source of worry. As somebody who was the Seanad spokesperson on issues relating to communities and drugs from 2007 to 2011, I believe the halfway house model which the Tabor Group uses at Tabor Fellowship House in Cork city has been very successful. There is now a need to increase the number of detox beds available in Cork city. It is about wraparound community supports being made available to people. I refer to access to care, access to counselling, and the whole area of rehabilitation and reintegration into the community and into families. It is through enhancing supports that we can offer people a second chance. Equally, it is important to make facilities available with regard to people's later employability and ability to reach back into their families and communities.


Through the work of Cuan Mhuire and the Tabor Group, we can see that there is now a need for more detox beds within the system. I support everything the Minister of State has done and is doing and thank her for it. The Southern Regional Drug and Alcohol Task Force has been very powerful in Cork. It has been a very strong advocate and voice but has also challenged all of us. There can be a dual approach and a collaboration to address both mental health and addiction. These sometimes go hand in hand. That is not always the case but it very often is. I ask that we look at increasing the number of detox beds and amount of community support within the system in Cork.


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