Wednesday 7 December 2016

Kenny backs plea for addiction centre funds

Published 27/09/2016 | 02:30

Former Olympic boxer Kenneth Egan spoke about his own addiction problems at the launch of the annual report of Aiséirí, a group of treatment centres in the south-east. Aiséirí has called for more funding so its centres can remain open. Pic Maxwells/Julien Behal
Former Olympic boxer Kenneth Egan spoke about his own addiction problems at the launch of the annual report of Aiséirí, a group of treatment centres in the south-east. Aiséirí has called for more funding so its centres can remain open. Pic Maxwells/Julien Behal

Olympic silver medal winner Kenneth Egan said it was critical that every possible support be offered to groups helping people address addiction issues.

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The former boxer's plea comes as Ireland's only residential detoxification centre for juveniles battling addiction problems faces the threat of closure unless the Government provides financial support.

"I started drinking at the age of 13 or 14 and fully appreciate why services like those at Aiséirí are absolutely crucial to people at a young age," Egan said.

Aislinn, a Kilkenny-based service operated by the Aiséirí treatment centre group, warned that it urgently requires funding support if it is to continue its hugely successful operations.

Despite Ireland's escalating juvenile drug and alcohol abuse problem and the fact that Aislinn ranks as the only centre of its kind in the country, it is entirely dependent for financing on private sources.

The Aislinn centre witnessed an astonishing 52pc hike in client admissions last year.

Aiséirí chief executive Paul Conlon warned they urgently need Government help.

"The funding model for our adolescent detoxification and rehabilitation service is simply not sustainable into the future.

"So we are calling on the Government to fund this essential and successful programme into the future. This will provide a tangible return on the investment for the Exchequer, as young people will be able to take control of their addiction and return to their families and communities," he said.

Irish Independent

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