Sustainability of addiction services remains a priority for Task Force

By Mary Dennehy

HARM reduction is one of the focuses of the Tallaght Drugs and Alcohol Task Force for 2016, as HIV infections increase among people who inject drugs - including steroids.

This week, the Tallaght Drugs and Alcohol Task Force (TDATF) has published its Annual Newsletter for 2015, and delivered it through The Echo.

TDATF Grace Hill and Eamon Dolan resized

The Newsletter provides a comprehensive snapshot of the work of the task force across Tallaght and Whitechurch and the responsive, tailored approach taken by the area’s drug and family support projects.

Looking back on 2015, Eamon Dolan, TDATF chairperson, said: “We are pleased that our budget will not be further reduced in 2016 as the sustainability of our essential community addiction services remain a priority of TDATF.

“However, we are currently appealing to the Minister and relevant funding agencies to recognise TDATF in its own right and the need for an increase in our funding, to increase our capacity to respond to emerging needs and support the development of our community services.

“Unfortunately projects are still dealing with the impact of cumulative cuts on their services between 2008 and 2014 and we feel a cost of living increase is long overdue.”

The impact of the task force on not just those with addiction issues but their families and the wider community is evident from the newsletter, which gives an overview of the TDATF’s work in areas such as intimidation, community education, prevention, mental health, homelessness, the provision of fun activities for children and its support of community events such as St Patrick’s Day, the Recovery Walk and Barnardos’ young people’s project, Amplifying Voices.

Looking forward to 2016, the task force is hoping to release research it commissioned to capture the number of children and young people impacted by parental substance abuse within the community.

The task force has also promoted its daily community needle exchange times in community projects JADD, St Aengus and CARP, alongside issuing advice to IV drug users.

The task force also saw an increase in steroid use across its harm reduction services in 2015, with TDATF moving to remind people that injecting steroids is extremely harmful and can cause serious physical and psychological side effects.

The task force has warned: “The sharing of needles or any drug using tools including tooters increases the risk of contracting infections such as Hepatitis B and C and HIV.”

Further information is available from HIV and Sexual Health Helpline on 1800 459 459, www.hivireland.ie, by dropping into your local harm reduction service or visiting www.tallaghtdatf.ie

Anybody who finds drug related litter in their community is advised to report it to South Dublin County Council on 4149000.

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