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harm reduction

Fianna Fáil tweet about HSE being on crack 'not representative of party policy'

The tweet was quickly deleted after criticism online.

FIANNA FÁIL HAS said a tweet sent from its official account suggesting the Health Service Executive (HSE) is “on crack” is not representative of the party’s policy on drugs.

In June the HSE and the Ana Liffey Drug Project launched a harm reduction campaign to tackle the increasing levels of cocaine and crack cocaine use in Ireland. The campaign had a health-focused approach and was aimed at people who are already using the drug, whether it is recreationally or on a regular basis.

The offending tweet from Fianna Fáil this morning questioned why the HSE was spending time on campaigns like this when there are almost one million people on hospital waiting lists. It also suggested the HSE may be on crack cocaine.

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A similar message was also posted on the party’s official Facebook page. Both posts were quickly deleted after immediate criticism:

A spokesperson for Fianna Fail said the tweet was “posted by a junior member of the staff from the party account”.

“It does not represent party policy whatsoever,” they said, adding that the party’s national drugs strategy submission supports “fairly radical proposals” to tackle problem drug use.

They also pointed out that the tweet was quickly deleted. When asked whether the party supported this specific campaign, the spokesperson said:

“Fianna Fáil supports any campaign that will help those suffering in addiction not to overdose and that encourage them to access detox programmes or services.

“Drug addiction is a severe illness and all those in addiction or problem drug use should be given as much support as possible.”

Tony Duffin, CEO of the Ana Liffey Drug Project told TheJournal.ie that it is “disappointing” to see these kinds of comments about the campaign, as similar harm reduction campaigns have been proven to work.

“It saves lives and it saves taxpayers’ money,” he said.

It is safer not to take drugs at all, that’s an important message, but if people do choose to use drugs it is important to make sure they are as safe as possible.

He said the campaign is meant to send “a credible message to people who use drugs” at a time when there is a concerning trend of cocaine use returning to pre-recessionary levels.

Fine Gael TD Noel Rock said the incident is “yet another example of Fianna Fail’s ‘shoot first, aim later’ desperate approach to publicity”.

“I’m not sure what kind of amateur hour operation they have, but how nobody paused to ask ‘is it a good question to accuse the HSE of being on crack?’ is frankly incredible. These people want to run a country, yet they can’t run a Twitter account.”

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