Written Answers. - Drug Treatment Services.

Tony Gregory


566 Mr. Gregory asked the Minister for Health and Children the approach taken by drug treatment centres when persons request treatment after being charged with drug supply; and if places taken by such persons militate against other drug users on the waiting lists who are not involved in drug supply. [1597/99]

Health board drug treatment centres do not discriminate against any person in relation to the provision of appropriate treatment and care. On presenting to drug treatment services a person is assessed and provided with the appropriate treatment as quickly as possible. Assessment and access to drug treatment depends on the severity of addiction and other relevant psychiatric/medical problems. In general, priority would be given to pregnant drug misusers, people who are HIV positive and young people who are injecting.

Many people who are taken onto drug treatment programmes, because of the nature of drug misuse, have criminal backgrounds. Clinics do not discriminate against such clients, but neither do they offer any preference to people who have been charged or who are facing charges and seek ing treatment. There are particular situations where a patient presenting with a serious court case pending, such as possession or drug dealing, or other serious offence, would not necessarily gain immediate access to detoxification facilities as these places are limited in number, and there would be questions about the person's motivation for choosing such a programme. In such circumstance the person would be put on a waiting list for treatment pending the outcome of their trial before allowing them access to an inpatient detoxification facility.