Drugs strategy team’s approach questioned

IN reply to your report headlined ‘Clean needles still unavailable to addicts’ (February 2), I would like to know if the Government-appointed “expert group” recommended that the goal of a “drug-free lifestyle” should be part of its strategy?

Is the National Drugs Strategy Team (NDST) going to continue with its new strategy of reacting to the situation where heroin smokers are progressing to be heroin injectors?

Is not the purpose of a strategy to be guided by a set of values and to seek to implement actions informed by these values?

Is a “healthy, drug-free lifestyle for all our citizen” not a value for the NDST? Do the ethical limitations of maintaining harm at a reduced level need to be more thoroughly debated by them?

What of recommendations to the NDST that detoxification facilities should be provided, that services like Tabor Lodge and others in Cork, offering comprehensive rehabilitation services towards a drug-free lifestyle, should be properly funded, that the “stabilisation programme” provided in Cork for heroin users be supported properly?

On completion of new national drugs strategy in 2016, let us hope we have progressed to the point where all citizens afflicted by problems resulting from drug (and alcohol) abuse receive comprehensive treatment and rehabilitation services informed by the value of a “healthy, drug-free lifestyle.”

Mick Devine

Administrator

Tabor Lodge

Belgooly

Co. Cork

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