Concern as drug rehab projects have funding axed

NEARLY 40 drug rehabilitation projects are having their funding axed, and 11 face closure, a Dáil committee was told yesterday.

The Office for the Minister for Drugs (OMD) told the public accounts committee (PAC) it was “very concerned” at the decision by the Department of Education, which funds the Rehabilitation Aided Support Programme (RASP), and said it had not been consulted beforehand.

The PAC also heard a forthcoming HSE campaign will highlight the dangers posed by “legal highs” sold in “headshops”.

Labour TD Tommy Broughan asked Kathleen Stack, assistant secretary at the Department of Community Affairs, in charge of the National Drugs Strategy, why funding to RASP projects was being axed.

He said one community leader in Coolock informed him their funding was being cut by a third in 2010 and they faced closure in 2011, the cuts would leave people at “the mercy of drug dealers” and many clients could end up back in prison.

Ms Stack said the OMD was “very concerned”. She said 38 projects would be affected and 11 would cease to exist.

The PAC was meeting over the critical report on treatment and rehabilitation services published earlier this year. The PAC also heard an Elton John AIDS Foundation-funded needle exchange service will start in February.


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