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Dáil Éireann debate -
Thursday, 24 Apr 1969

Vol. 239 No. 14

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Treatment of Drug Addicts.


asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the statement made by a doctor (name supplied) inviting any drug addict to come in confidence for treatment; and if he will take steps to encourage those concerned to adopt such a course.

I am aware of the statement referred to.

I wish to point out that treatment for drug takers is obtainable at present in the psychiatric hospitals and at outpatient clinics, and I would strongly urge those in need of treatment to avail of these services. As I mentioned in reply to a Parliamentary Question last week, I have already taken steps to have a special centre set up where persons could receive advice in regard to drugs and the treatment of addiction. I am hoping for early agreement on the establishment of this centre. I should have said in reply to Deputy O'Leary's supplementary on the previous question that the actual physical setting-up of the clinic involved difficulties for the hospital authorities and the doctors concerned. I am quite happy that all concerned did their very best to get it off the ground.

Is the Minister aware this is becoming a growing scourge in this country, and that sufficient clinics to treat those unfortunate people should be set up immediately before the problem gets any worse?

The Minister will appreciate that long before the working party got down to this job, in an Adjournment Debate on this subject before Christmas, he agreed, on the evidence available at that time, that, before any publication of the working party would be produced, whatever they were to discover, the need for a clinic had clearly at that date been established. The Minister himself vouchsafed the information, in that debate, that the setting-up of a clinic would commence right away. That was well before Christmas. There are obviously difficulties in the way before such a clinic can be set up but, even though I tabled a question last week about who the director will be and the actual physical establishment of the clinic, there still is no satisfactory information to hand about any concrete results which may be expected in this matter in the near future.

We cannot have a debate on this question. The Deputy may ask a question.

Therefore, in the present situation, where little actual progress, apart from talk, has been made, surely the setting-up of the clinic is an urgent priority?

I do not propose to add any more to my reply.