Addicts don’t work ‘18 hours’ to fund charity
Victory Outreach defends itself after Prime Time report on fundraising method
RTÉ’s Prime Time last night reported that addicts attempting recovery at Victory Outreach were working ’up to 18 hours a day, for no pay, simply to raise money for a charity organisation’.
An evangelical charity which provides residential places for drug addicts has defended its use of cold turkey to treat addicts as well as sending them out to fundraise for it.
RTÉ’s Prime Time last night reported that addicts attempting recovery at Victory Outreach were working “up to 18 hours a day, for no pay, simply to raise money for a charity organisation”.
The RTÉ report said the unregulated organisation did not give chemical assistance or professional counselling to residents, who were told to use prayer.
Victory Outreach began working in Ireland in 1997 and is part of a US-based organisation which operates “churches” in more than 20 countries. Victory Outreach Dublin operates five recovery homes, spokesman Stuart Murphy said.
Mr Murphy told The Irish Times yesterday that residents fundraised voluntarily and money raised was used to fund the organisation which received no State monies. The earliest a team started fundraising was 9.30am or 10am, he said.
Asked about residents going “cold turkey” Mr Murphy said they were aware of this “when taken in” and there are “no locks on the doors”.
Mr Murphy said he himself had come through the programme 13 years ago and survived.
There were three basic parts to the programme: restoration of family, a positive work ethic and a relationship with Christ, he said.
He would like to see regulation of treatment organisations “the sooner the better” as they then would not have to “sell raffle tickets” and the staff “might get wages”, he said.
The Department of Health said addiction services which are funded by the HSE are required to meet “minimum standards ”.
Victory Outreach was “not funded by the HSE” and there was “currently no provision” in law for regulation of residential treatment or rehabilitation centres specialising in addiction, it said.
Unlike many other services operating in Dublin, the organisation has no waiting list and will assist most addicts who contact it.
The Prime Time report pointed out there were an estimated 20,000 heroin addicts in the State but just one professionally supervised detox bed for every 400 addicts in Dublin. “This shortage has led addicts to engage with private and unregulated organisations,” RTÉ said in a statement ahead of the programme.
There was “definitely a gap in service provision that needs to be filled,” Tony Duffin, director of the Anna Liffey Drug Project (ALDP) told The Irish Times yesterday. It can be “difficult for people actively using drugs” to access residential treatment as many services require them to reach a level of stability beforehand. ALDP would like to open residential units where people can “refer themselves” based “solely on need” .
According to 2012 accounts registered with the company’s office, the charity, registered as Urban Outreach Limited, had an income of almost €280,000 and a deficit of €13,000. This is made up of donations of more than €168,000 and rental income of almost €111,000. Its main expenditure was rental income of €150,000.
Victory Outreach’s US organisation was subject to controversy last year after a Boston Globe investigation found a contractor was paying illegally low wages to workers from the church to renovate hotels .