Fianna Fáil TD and Spokesperson for National Drugs Strategy, Jack Chambers has said that an increase in accessible residential treatment facilities is crucial to tackling Ireland’s escalating drug problem.

The Deputy spoke about needs based services in advance of this evening’s Dáil debate on legislation that will allow for the establishment of a medically supervised injecting centre in Ireland.

“The introduction of a supervised injection facility on a pilot basis will alleviate street injecting and has the potential to become a broader term viable public health measure to encourage those suffering from addiction to interact with health practitioners. However, is is only part of the solution to Ireland’s rising drug problem,” explained the Deputy.

“From my engagement with various addiction charities and organisations, I have become more aware that every individual with an addiction requires varied needs and support. There is no clear treatment path for everyone with an addiction.

“According to the Department of Health and HSE, there are currently just 144 detox beds across the country and 1/3 of those are based in Dublin, despite the Capital having the vast majority of active drug users.

“There are glaring gaps in existing services, especially for those under 18 years of age. The difficulties experienced by many in accessing drug and alcohol treatment, as well as the limited options available for detoxing from drugs must be addressed.

“Private residential treatment centres such as Tiglin in Co. Wicklow, play a crucial role in saving lives from addiction. Although, the State currently contributes towards its resources, secure funding should be significantly increased to coincide with the introduction of an injection centre.

“We must better understand that detox, treatment and rehabilitation are three different stages of recovery for any person suffering with an addiction. Many are eager to move beyond harm reduction, active drug-use and onto living a life beyond a dependency on drugs. A lack of detox beds means that these people are left exposed to a risk of relapse.

“An injection centre will undoubtedly reduce harm for those in the immediate vicinity but we must also focus on establishing more long term solutions that will reach everyone nationwide suffering from a life-controlling addiction,” concluded Deputy Chambers.