Fianna Fáil TD for Dublin South West and member of the Tallaght Drug and Alcohol Task Force, John Lahart, says he welcomes news that €850,000 in recurring funding has been announced for a HSE-led initiative to reduce the health-related harms from cocaine and ‘crack’ cocaine.
The funding will support models of best practice in cocaine treatment, including the development of training programmes for addiction service staff nationally.
It will also establish targeted interventions in disadvantaged communities worst affected by cocaine and ‘crack’ cocaine.
In welcoming this funding, Deputy Lahart outlined that given the increasing prevalence of cocaine use in the area he represents, alongside countless other communities in the state, the requirement for a targeted responses is evident.
“Crack cocaine has changed the pattern of addiction and requires a specific intervention,” he said.
“Tackling this issue has been a key priority of mine since I first got involved in politics and is one which Fianna Fáil has been spearheading since we re-entered Government in 2020.
“Just last month, representatives from the Tallaght Drugs and Alcohol Task Force appeared before the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health, on which I sit, to discuss a research report into substance misuse and its impact on the communities of Tallaght.
“The report, “The landscape of substance misuse and its impact on the communities of Tallaght’s Drugs and Alcohol Task Force”, details an 18 per cent increase in referrals for crack cocaine addiction between 2019 and 2020.
“Strengthening harm reduction responses to the use of cocaine and ‘crack’ cocaine is vital.
“This initiative will contribute to a whole of government response to the social determinants and consequences of drug use in disadvantaged communities and I welcome the HSE’s leadership and commitment to work with relevant stakeholders, including community and voluntary organisations, in developing and delivering this initiative.
“I know, as a long-standing board member of the Tallaght Drugs and Alcohol Task Force (TDATF), that the TDATF will submit the strongest application for a very significant funding allocation from this allocation, which I will support in the full.”