Citywide:"National Drugs Strategy totally undermined by government cuts"

15 Sep 2009

Speaking at the launch by An Taoiseach Brian Cowen of the government's National Drugs Strategy, Citywide Drugs Crisis Campaign have challenged the Taoiseach to explain how the, "National Drugs Strategy can be implemented while government policy calls for cuts of €2.6m to the same strategy."

At the launch, Citywide Co-ordinator Daithi Doolan said, "It is impossible to expect communities to deal with an ever growing drugs crisis with less resources, and the extension of the drugs strategy to include alcohol demands that more resources, not less, are now needed. It beggars belief that the Taoiseach now expects community drugs projects and Drugs Task Forces to deal with the causes and consequences of drug & alcohol addiction with less funding. We now have a part time Junior Minister with less resources and more responsibilities than before. Most progress was made in tackling the drug crisis when the National Drugs Strategy was headed up by a full time Junior Minister with real partnership in place through the National Drug Strategy Team. This unique structure ensured real partnership was possible, allowing communities to have access not just to a Minister but ultimately to the Taoiseach.

Doolan explained, "Communities welcome the inclusion of alcohol in to the strategy, we welcome actions to combat the intimidation of families and communities by drug dealers and actions that target gangs using children as runners. But much of this strategy simply re-states what was in previous strategies. What we need now more than ever is partnership with communities, adequate resources and the political will to ensure the strategy is fully implemented. This government lacks the political will, cuts resources and excludes the communities most affected by the drugs crisis."

In conclusion Doolan demanded that An Taoiseach, "reinstate a full time Junior Minister who has a seat at the Cabinet table and guarantees adequate funding for the implementation in full of this strategy."