By Cillian Sherlock, PA
The Citizens’ Assembly on Drugs Use has visited drug treatment centres in Coolmine in Blanchardstown and Merchants Quay Ireland to learn more about the “lived experience of drugs use”.
Members had the opportunity to meet and talk with staff and service users.
Speaking at the close of the weekend’s meeting, chairman Paul Reid said the visits had been designed for assembly members to hear the stories behind drugs use.
He said this was a crucial part of meeting the assembly’s terms of reference that asked it to consider the harmful impacts of drugs use on individuals, families, communities and wider society.
“Today’s visits to Coolmine Treatment Centre and Merchants Quay Ireland, where members met with staff and service users, were humbling and eye-opening experiences,” he said.
“We heard the stories behind drugs use from those who have lived through it.
“We saw the supports they are given and what they need to rebuild their lives following drugs use.
“We saw the vital work done by the staff working with people who use drugs, and their commitment to helping them lead productive lives.
“This was a unique and special weekend and one that will help the assembly consider what additional supports and services are required when we come to make our recommendations at the end of this year.”
Mr Reid will call the 99 members for its next meeting in mid-June at The Grand Hotel in Malahide where they will consider how the health system deals with drugs use, and will also contain a range of contributions from representatives from the community sector.