Submission to Citizens’ Assembly on Drug Use

The All-Ireland Traveller Health Study (2010) reported that 66.3% of Travellers considered illicit drugs to be a problem within the community.

Since then drug use, once a taboo has now become a widespread problem described by a Traveller community drug worker at the Citizens Assembly as a “pandemic of substance misuse” affecting many Traveller families.

Our submission to the Assembly describes some of the current challenges and emerging issues for Travellers and Roma in relation to drug use and makes recommendations:

  1. Fully implement the National Traveller Health Action Plan, with increased multi annual
    funding for Traveller organisations to support targeted measures related to substance
    misuse and addiction.
  2. Prioritise and mainstream Traveller/Roma health inequalities (including addiction) within the
    Department of Health and across the HSE into existing and forthcoming health policy and
    service developments.
  3. Provide a health-led response to addiction that is culturally appropriate and addresses
    health needs of Travellers, including decriminalisation for personal use on all occasions.
  4. Ensure a proactive community-based policing response to drug dealing in partnership with
    Traveller organisations and the Traveller community.
  5. Provide anti-racism training (inclusive of anti-Traveller and anti-Roma racism) to all relevant
  6. Implement ethnic equality monitoring, including use of a standardised ethnic identifier)
    across all relevant data sets for addiction.

This submission was developed by Pavee Point Traveller and Roma Centre using a community development approach in consultations with Travellers and Roma, workers, and Travellers and Roma with lived experience of both addiction and affected by addiction.