Dáil Éireann - Volume 507 - 29 June, 1999
Written Answers. - Drug Treatment Services.
Mr. Haughey Mr. Haughey
153. Mr. Haughey asked the Minister for Health and Children the policy on rehabilitation and recovery of drug addicts; if this policy consists solely of long-term methadone maintenance; if community based voluntary groups are supported and encouraged in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16565/99]
Mr. Cowen Mr. Cowen
Minister for Health and Children (Mr. Cowen): Up to now the Eastern Health Board, which has statutory responsibility for the provision of treatment in the Dublin area has been concentrating on expanding its treatment network in order to attract as many drug users as possible into its service. By the end of May 1999 there was a total of 3,891 on the central methadone treatment list.
The objective of our drug treatment programmes is to restore those addicted to drugs to a drug free lifestyle. It is recognised however that this may not be a realistic option, in the short-term at least, for some drug users. In such cases, and this is accepted internationally, methadone maintenance can play a vital role in stabilising the patient and in influencing their often chaotic behaviour. This can have very beneficial results for patients themselves, their immediate family and social circle and society in general.
Methadone maintenance however, can be part of an overall treatment regime which should also include counselling and rehabilitation and which has as its aim, the reintegration of the individual, into society. The Eastern Health Board has identified the provision of increased rehabilitation facilities as part of its service plan for 1999. The board has commenced the development of a rehabilitation programme and will be engaging in a widespread consultation process over the coming months. Voluntary agencies, community groups and other statutory organisations will be involved in this process and the role to be played by such groups and organisations will be discussed.
I am confident, that, arising from this process, the board will shortly have in place a comprehensive programme for all of its clients which will provide appropriate rehabilitation for those who need it.
Dáil Éireann 507 Written Answers. Drug Treatment Services.