Dear Roisin Shortal TD, John Lyons TD and Paschal Donohoe TD,
As a service constituent of yours, I am writing to ask you to vote against the measures contained in Budget 2012 relating to the savage cuts to FAS CE programmes.
FAS Special CE Drug Rehab Projects, which underpin the national drugs rehab strategy, are being savagely attacked by a 66% cut in operational and training funding. It is proposed to cut the materials and training budget from €1500 to just €500 per participant per annum. This is the money that provides heat, light, telephone, stationery, education materials, etc, etc. Crucially, it also pays for progression training for people engaged in a rehabilitation process.
In addition to these cuts, lone parents attempting to address their drug addiction will have their entitlement to part payment of another DSP discontinued – as will those who are in receipt of an illness payment. These measures take no account of the cost of childcare or disability and are unfair, unequal and simply cruel. It is a known fact that incentives to engage in rehabilitation increase take-up levels and subsequently everyone wins – the client, the community, their family and wider society.
The drug problem has not gone away. We see the evidence of the devastation that drugs cause to individual, families and the wider community every day. On the same day as the cuts in the Budget were announced, the latest figures from the Health Research Board (HRB) National Drug-Related Deaths Index (NDRDI) were released showing the number of heroin-related deaths had increased by 20% in 2009 and a further report from the Mercy University Hospital Cork stated that 47% of psychiatric patients admitted had a substance misuse problem. According to micro research study figures released at a conference this morning in Ballybough, Dublin, the use of crack-cocaine, crystal meth, mephedrone, alcohol and skunk are rising at an alarming rate.
Since 2008 drug projects have experienced cut after cut after cut and there is simply nothing left to give.
Please use your common sense and do not vote in favor of this proposal.
Dr. Tom O Brien