Launch of new Broad Based Drug Alliance Initiative

1 Feb 2012

PRESS RELEASE February 17th 2012

Citywide Drugs Crisis Campaign along with SITPU, voluntary organisations, community drug services, church organisations, members of the artistic community and others are today launching a new broad based drugs initiative to give new and urgent impetus to the drugs crisis in Ireland today. Local communities know only too well the ravages that the drugs crisis has brought to their doors. Austerity measures have wrought havoc with drug services since 2008 with community and voluntary services losing an average of one third of their budgets since then.

There is much evidence to show that Ireland continues to have major problems associated with legal and illegal drugs, especially in disadvantaged areas. Intimidation in local communities is rife, gangs are controlling large swathes of our neighbourhoods and our young people are being left with fewer and fewer options for their future.

The national drugs strategy was designed to be an over-arching, intersectoral policy response which involved, at its very core, local communities in determining responses to the drugs crisis in their areas.

Speaking in advance of the launch, Fergus McCabe of Citywide said: "Citywide and the communities we represent have always tried to cooperate with Government in the promotion and implementation of the national drugs strategy. But over the past few years this has become more and more difficult. Government are moving away from a partnership approach and this is undermining the delivery of the strategy. We are confident that our coming together as an alliance will help strengthen the voice of the NGO drug sector and will locate the drugs issue squarely back on the political agenda".

This was backed up by Joe O'Flynn, General Secretary of SIPTU who said:"SITPU are fully committed to supporting this new initiative. We need to ensure that our national drugs strategy is being defended across all departments. The principles of partnership cannot be abandoned simply because of our economic problems. It's at times like these that we need effective partnership - not less partnership"

This umbrella group of NGO's drawn from all walks of society are made up of people affected by and interested in addressing the drugs problem and locating it firmly back on the political agenda of this Government. We are inviting others to Sign Up today to become part of this alliance.

Citywide is also launching its 2012 Policy Document which was developed after a wide consultation process. This document presents a picture of current community drug problems and is based on consultation with people who work and live in communities most affected by them. It is published by CityWide to draw attention to the continuing drugs crisis in Ireland and sets out an eight point agenda to address it.

Finally Citywide is launching a film, shot during 2010/11, which documents a social history of the organisation and interviews a range of contemporary community drug responses throughout Ireland.

The launch is taking place at 12.30p.m. on Friday 17th February 2012 in Liberty Hall, Dublin 1.