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Home > Dail Eireann debate. Questions - Alcohol treatment services [16926/20].

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Questions - Alcohol treatment services [16926/20]. (21 Jul 2020)

External website: https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates/question/2020...


Question: 679. Deputy Darren O'Rourke asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to a significant reduction in the number of meetings of a group (details supplied) during the Covid-19 pandemic due to Covid-19 restrictions; the measures and supports in place for recovering alcoholics at this time; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16926/20]

Minister of State at the Department of Health - The Covid-19 pandemic has created a time of uncertainty and anxiety for everyone and particularly for those who are affected by drug and alcohol addiction. The restructuring of services, social distancing measures and requirement for self-isolation can be particularly difficult for those who are trying to remain drug and alcohol free or are in recovery. 

Officials in the Department of Health have been working with Drug and Alcohol Task Forces and the HSE Social Inclusion Services to ensure that services and supports continue to be provided for those with problem drug and alcohol use, in line with public health advice. Details of services operating during the coronavirus outbreak can be found at 'drugs.ie'. 

The HSE has advised that some support groups may be available online including those relating to alcohol addiction. In addition, the HSE Drug and Alcohol Helpline, 1800 459 459 is available from Monday to Friday 9.30 at am to 5.30 pm. 

The Department and the HSE are aware of the challenges facing people with alcohol-related problems during Covid-19. They have disseminated a poster with advice on reducing harm for people dependent on alcohol or in treatment. It contains key messages on reducing the harms associated with alcohol and accessing advice and supports for recovery. 

People with alcohol-related problems may also face mental health issues. Mental health services have responded by providing group and family meetings via video links. Drugs.ie contains information about dual diagnosis and advice for looking after your mental health during the COVID-19 outbreak. There is also a drug recovery page on advice for people who are attempting to remain abstinent and with links to relevant support services. 

Work is underway to prepare for the restoration of drug and alcohol services in a planned and appropriate manner in line with public health recommendations. This includes guidance on one-to-one and group supports. 

I am very much aware of the difficulties for people with drug and alcohol dependency at this time. I would advise people to keep in touch with addiction services and support groups to find out the services that are currently available.

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