Monday’s RTE Investigates programme exposed gaps in addiction support services in the country.

Addiction supports falling short

Addicts attempting to get clean and re-enter Irish society are not being given the supports they need.

That’s according to Sinn Féin spokesperson on addiction, recovery and wellbeing Thomas Gould TD who is calling on the Government to address significant gaps in supports for addicts attempting recover.

Deputy Gould's comments come following Monday night's ‘RTÉ Investigates’ programme which laid bare the challenges facing homeless people seeking help.

“What we saw was a young man struggling to overcome addiction. When people are trying their absolute best in this way, we need to reach out and offer them support,” said Deputy Gould.

The deputy said that methadone and other replacement drugs have their place but insisted that we are now looking at a system that sees these as the ultimate, and often only, rehabilitation method available to people.

“No detox bed, no rehab bed and no counselling were offered. The programme highlighted just how hard it is when you’re in addiction to get out of that. This is magnified when there is no support available.”

Deputy Gould said that a system with the right supports in place would make a phenomenal difference to people suffering with addiction. He added that the determination and resilience of those in recovery, or attempting to enter recovery, was clear.

“These are people who want to be functioning members of communities, we just need to reach a hand out and give them that chance,” he concluded.

According to the latest homelessness report, there were 6,032 adults homeless in Ireland in November 2020. According to data released at the end of 2020 by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, Ireland is top of the table of EU countries when it comes to heroin use. The report showed there are now eight cases in the 15-64 age group per 1,000 population in Ireland, while recorded drug offences here have doubled since 2004.

However, the report noted that waiting times for drug treatment services, including methadone and detoxification programmes, have improved significantly in Ireland in the past 12 months.