Fianna Fáil TD for Kildare North Frank O’Rourke says greater investment in drug treatment services is needed in Kildare.

Deputy O’Rourke made the comments after obtaining new information which shows that 77 patients in Kildare are travelling to Dublin to avail of drug treatment services. This is in contrast to the Government’s own stated strategy of adopting a community approach for the provision of drug treatment services.

“The number of people looking to avail of drug treatment services has been on the rise in recent years. This is unexpected considering the rise in use of recreational drugs which has in turn led to some people developing addictions to certain substances. The State recognises this problem and that is why it has provided drug treatment centres to help people overcome these addiction issues,” said Deputy O’Rourke.

“It’s well acknowledged that people seeking drug treatment services tend to have better outcomes when these services are located within their own communities. This is why it is the aim of the Health Service Executive to treat people at the lowest level of complexity and as close to home as possible. However I have been contacted by a number of people who are seeking drug treatment services only to find that they are not available in Kildare.

“I raised this issue in the Dáil with the Taoiseach and was subsequently contacted by the Minister of State for Communities and the National Drugs Strategy Catherine Byrne who provided me with an update on the situation. Minister Byrne outlined that at present there are 115 people seeking drug treatment in Kildare through their local GP’s and a further 145 through community pharmacists. However she also acknowledged that some 77 patients are being forced to travel to Dublin to avail of drug treatment services. The Minister confirmed that this situation has arisen because there is no dedicated drug treatment centre to cover Kildare.

“The provision of treatment services in Kildare has been identified as a priority by both the Government and the HSE. A new National Drugs Strategy is expected to be published later this year and I will be keeping the pressure on to ensure Kildare gets adequate drug treatment services.”