Ireland- Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, new Minister of State for National Drugs Strategy, said that he was considering a methadone protocol review because its maintenance wasn’t working for a number of addicts.
He added that the current strategy expiring next year after seven years was too long and that the people involved in the implementation had lost their focus and energy.
He says, he doesn’t think he now has too many responsibilities, he said in an interview with The Irish Times. Currently, he’s also minister of the State for Culture and Commemorations and State for Equality and New Communities.
The current drug policy runs until 2016, but he recognizes that the people are feeling the sector has lost sense of urgency in terms of drugs crisis.
He added that the number of heroin addicts is growing, together with drug related deaths going up to 50 percent in the past ten years, yet government’s fund for drug taskforces were cut by up to 80 percent only in the past five years.
The new drug minister said he wanted to have an honest, open discussion to know what happened with the last strategy and said that methadone maintenance wasn’t working for a number of addicts stabilized into using synthetic opiate. He added that more than 10,000 users are now registered to be methadone users and said that he wanted to talk to addicts as well as to the people who are affected by the problem because the protocol has worked for others, but not for some, he continued.
He furthers that the problem with drug abuse is that it affects every part of the country, especially the poorer communities, which the impact is more profound. The minister also says that it’s always the lowest end of society people who end up in prison or with gunshot wounds.
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