TITHE AN OIREACHTAIS
AN COMHCHOISTE UM GHNÓTHAÍ EALAÍON, SPÓIRT,
TURASÓIREACHTA, POBAIL, TUAITHE AGUS GAELTACHTA
An Dóú Tuarascáil Déag
DROCHÚSÁID DRUGAÍ IN ÉIRINN —
DEARCADH Ó PHORT LÁIRGE
HOUSES OF THE OIREACHTAS
JOINT COMMITTEE ON ARTS, SPORT, TOURISM, COMMUNITY, RURAL AND GAELTACHT AFFAIRS
DRUG ABUSE IN IRELAND —
A WATERFORD PERSPECTIVE
Foreword by the Chairman
Our work to date, including Reports on Cocaine, Cannabis and Alcohol Abuse, have been on a nationwide basis. This latest Report targets one area of the country — Waterford City and County — and it graphically depicts the sordid and insidious drugs scene in that geographic area. There are no punches pulled and the seamy underside of our society, interlinked with drug and alcohol abuse is portrayed in a matter of fact fashion. I wonder how many more Reports are required before we as a nation admit to the pervasiveness of drug abuse and provide adequate resources that are needed to tackle it with the emphasis on the treatment and care of our fellow countrymen and women who have fallen victim to its ravages?
Recommendations of the Joint Committee
•The Joint Committee recommends more detailed research by the School of Health Sciences at Waterford Institute of Technology into the extent of substance abuse in Waterford city and county. Some research is taking place but this needs to be very substantially increased.
•The Joint Committee recommends that there be an extension of the ‘Walk Tall’ support service to other areas of disadvantage outside of the Local Drugs Task Force area, which has been under consideration for some time.
•The Joint Committee recommends that innovative research is needed to ascertain why people are resorting to drugs; why is there a failure on the part of users of ‘leisure’ drugs such as cocaine, to make a connection between their expenditure and the crime-driven drugs market.
•The Joint Committee recommends that more targeted measures are aimed at parents to enable them to recognise the beginnings of substance abuse in children.
•The Joint Committee recommends the putting in place of a system and identifiable statutory structure where named individuals are accountable for the implementation of a case-plan to ensure that at-risk young people do not become drug addicts.
•The Joint Committee recommends improved work with families to ensure that such case-plans are followed through to a successful conclusion.
•The Joint Committee recommends improved measures aimed at supporting families in adjusting lifestyles where the parental attitude to alcohol and other substance abuse is a contributing factor in children’s potential to abuse substances both legal and illegal.
•The Joint Committee recommends the examining of new policies such as enabling the Criminal Assets Bureau to seize property such as pubs and clubs where there are court convictions for drug dealing and drug-taking by dealers and users on the premises.
•The Joint Committee recommends that the Gardaí object to the renewal of a pub or club license where drugs offences have been discovered.
•The Joint Committee recommends the provision of adequate court facilities in Waterford and other counties where deemed necessary to enable speedy processing of cases involving drugs offences.
•The Joint Committee recommends empowering and supporting public servants in facilitating the reporting of discrepancies where they have reasonable grounds to suspect that their clients are dealing in illegal substances.
•The Joint Committee recommends the undertaking of detailed research in relation to the suicide of young males to ascertain if the use of illegal substances is a factor in these deaths.
•The Joint Committee recommends further examination of the wide range of services, projects and personnel working in the area of substance abuse and associated activities to see if over-lapping exists and if so, can duplication be eliminated and a more focused approach adopted to drugs and alcohol abuse programmes and projects.
•The Joint Committee recommends the introduction of a system of testing vehicle drivers for intoxication due to the consumption of legal or illegal drugs.
•The Joint Committee recommends the introduction of an extra methadone maintenance clinic each week in Waterford city so that addicts and those who are ‘clean’ of heroin are not meeting regularly, as suggested by one interviewee.
•The Joint Committee recommends that the community at large, agencies and societies, should debate the merits of a listening rather than a preaching approach in relation to the use of drugs, which could prove more successful with young people, as suggested by one interviewee.
•The Joint Committee recommends the exploration of the role in which the arts (both community arts and arts therapy) can play in regard to preventing young people taking up the drug habit and in assisting the recovery of addicts.
•In its ongoing work over the last four years on drug and alcohol abuse the Joint Committee has always been conscious of the importance of treatment and rehabilitation of the victims given that the therapeutic support for victims and their families comes under the umbrella of the Mental Health Services and given the consistent underfunding of these services the Joint Committee again supports the health professionals and voluntary groups who are continually demanding appropriate resources for those services.