Tuesday 25 October 2016

We must help drug users to recover - not continue their habits

Published 16/07/2015 | 02:30

‘Nobody should deprive drug users of recovery’ (picture posed)
‘Nobody should deprive drug users of recovery’ (picture posed)

I'm puzzled - in the space of 30 years, a portion of our population (albeit a small one) has gone from being despised by the State, vilified by society and abhorred by the medical profession to become a cherished and protected club. The drug user has achieved a status unknown by any other group in society.

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I don't have any difficulty with drug users, in or out of recovery. They didn't choose the path they find themselves on - other people created the pathway and the drug user, through grief, misery, shame or desperation, started to walk that way.

This path was supported by the State in many forms, not least the justice system.

The recovery model was alive and well in Ireland in the 1980s. It was the expected outcome of treatment. Coolmine Therapeutic Community, The Rutland Centre and Cuan Mhuire aimed at giving clients an experience of recovery in a therapeutic environment.

Ireland has a history with recovery models, the Pioneer Association and Matt Talbot being an example. Ireland has had Alcoholics Anonymous since the 1950s.

In 1983, the idea of anything other than recovery was anathema, and drug users were colloquially described as the lowest of the low.

Nobody should deprive drug users of recovery, and it has taken 30 years for the drug support industry to wake up to this fact.

However, minding the drug user has been a very lucrative industry in Ireland since the 1990s and it continues to be so today.

A vast array of people have made considerable money out of the industry of minding the drug user.

Now these projects are poised to continue to support the drug user, but they are rewriting the script - now they will be helped to recover.

The services will keep their funds, the clinics will keep medicating and recovery will be talked about, but will it be achieved?

If the money spent on supporting drug users had been made available to support recovery over the past 15 years, one must wonder would society's belief in their motivation have an impact on the idea of recovery being an issue for addiction alone.

It hopefully would not - and recovery would be for everybody, as equals with no special cases.

M O'Mahony

Dublin 8


Legacy of abuse

I have just read the book 'Whispering Hope', the harrowing account of five wonderful women who were confined in the Magdalene laundries.

It brought back memories of my own boarding school life. Sadistic punishments were the norm. Both my brother and I made our First Communion in a well-established convent in Dublin at the age of six and seven under ruthless and frustrated nuns who made our lives hell.

We went on to another private school in Dublin in the 1960s. Physical and mental abuse was rampant.

Fear was the chief motivator from dawn to dusk. One priest at the time was a tyrant who ruled with fear and a leather strap.

We got a reasonable education but at a high price. Afterwards, it was extremely difficult to survive outside the walls.

God forgive us in this country for accepting any kind of abuse in our schools.

Name and address with editor


Feeding the fiscal vampire

Surely the EU "leadership" has now been irrevocably exposed for what it is - a motley crew of local -area enforcers for the self-serving agenda of the transnational financial elites.

Lack of regulation has allowed the global financial system to become a vampire, sucking the economic blood out of countries and citizens, through the open wound of debt. The mountain of debt that is suffocating Europe is the legacy of the banking collapse of 2008, when private gambling debt was forced on to ordinary people to pay as public debt.

But instead of national leaders coming together to collectively put a stake through the vampire's heart, they congratulate themselves on feeding it victims to keep it alive.

There will be no end to debt and its attendant suffering for innocent citizens until the people themselves come together in mass movements to face down the ruthless might of corporate vested interests and insist on the return of stability, equality and democracy to the Western world.

Maeve Halpin

Ranelagh, Dublin 6


UK's change of currency

On listening to the sports report on RTÉ's 'Morning Ireland' on Monday July 13, it was reported that Manchester City had agreed a €68m fee with Liverpool for Raheem Sterling.

And there was I thinking - pardon the pun - they were still in Sterling.

Con Mc Menamin

Dublin 15


Yes, we should pay for our water

Stephen Donnelly is proposing to abolish the water tax, which is a tax taken directly from the citizen in an open and transparent manner, and replace it with a hidden tax where one can easily swindle the citizen for political popularity.

The current joke of the citizen arriving on to the street claiming they already pay for water when nothing could be further from the truth shows how badly people have been swindled.

We even have a "right to water" group that feels the water should pump itself to a treatment plant, decontaminate itself, store and maintain itself at the treatment plant, pump itself to storage reservoirs throughout the network, then pump itself to the local citizen/customer - all without the citizen paying for it.

In countries like France and Germany, where people have paid for their water through proper taxation, they have developed support companies and modern industrial capabilities that allow them to export their water services to the tune of around €50bn per year (our hospital budget is only €10bn per year), while we in Ireland have public services that we won't and then eventually can't pay for.

How on Earth did we allow ourselves to be swindled so badly? Oh yeah, popularity-driven politics designed to swindle the citizen.

Simon O'Connor

Castleisland, Co Kerry

Irish Independent

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