Meath West Aontú leader, Peadar Tóibín TD has called on the government to examine the impact lockdown has had on drug and alcohol addiction. He was speaking after statistics released to him show a rise in the number of babies born with drug and alcohol addictions in 2020.

Deputy Tóibín said: “The figures released to Aontú show that while the number of babies born with drug or alcohol addictions has dramatically reduced over the past decade, the first year of the pandemic saw a rise in the figures. It is important that the government now commit to conducting an assessment of the impact that the pandemic – particularly lockdowns – have had on our drug and alcohol addiction statistics”.

“During the pandemic, it appears to me that the most vulnerable in the State suffered the most – whether it was victims of domestic violence, elderly people suffering from loneliness, children with special needs and their families, people who are struggling with mental ill health, those in nursing homes, cancer patients, low paid workers or those in direct provision. Aontú believes that an assessment is absolutely essential in order to identify areas where additional supports are now needed”.

“The image of a baby being born with an addiction in any of our hospitals is a very distressing image, and I’ve spoken to midwives who’ve said that there is nothing more heart breaking than weaning a new born baby off illegal drugs or alcohol. I hope the Minister for Health will commit to undertaking a study of the negative impacts the lockdowns had on vulnerable people”, concluded Tóibín.