31 July 1997 Edition

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Government urged to honour drugs pledge


The new government has been challenged to honour the pledge of the previous administration to give major funding to community drugs projects.

The call came as the South Inner City Local Drugs Taskforce conducted a press launch, entitled ``Recreating Hope'' at the Oak Room of the Mansion House, on Wednsday, 23 July. The taskforce placed strong emphasis on community development and support to tackle the heroin epidemic which has scourged the inner city. They also recommended a more central role for community-based recovery and drug free programs than had been available to date.

Andre Lyder, chairperson of the Taskforce, stated that the South Inner City was one of the worst affected areas in Dublin, and that 1100 addicts had been identified in the taskforce area. He said that as well as heroin, other drugs such as ecstacy, sleeping tablets and especially methodone (a heroin substitute) were being widely abused.

Vincent Doherty, Co-ordinator for the Task Force, stated that heroin was a ``product of despair arising from conditions such as inner city poverty, marginalisation, and hopelessness.''

``Heroin won't go away with window dressing,'' he added. ``Addicts need help too. We don't use words like recovery lightly. It will be a long and laborious task, but we, the community can help addicts recover.

``There was a commitment by the previous government to give £20 million for community drug projects. We would like to see that commitment adhered to,'' he added.

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