Vulnerable addicts ‘sent out to fundraise’ for drugs charity

Howard Lake | 23 December 2013 | News

Many service users of a drugs recovery centre in Ireland have been expected to undertake fundraising duties, according to a RTE television investigation.
The Maynooth-based Victory Outreach organisation, part of an international evangelical Christian church, is reported to have encouraged people with drug problems to sell raffle tickets to raise money in return for treatment, according to RTE’s Primetime programme ‘Beggars Belief’ which was broadcast on 17 December.
In one case Victory Outreach, which is a registered charity, refused to support one of its service users who was arrested for fundraising without a permit and subsequently served a short prison sentence.
RTE’s programme tracked one group of Victory Outreach fundraisers who worked for 18 hours one day.
The organisation was also accused of providing an inadequate service to drug addicts, suggesting prayer instead of conventional treatments. Residents also had their welfare benefits confiscated.
RTE says the organisation refused to answer any of the specific allegations made in the programme. It did quote Victory Outreach Dublin’s response which declared that it “…is a recovery home not a rehabilitation home which has a proven track record of success in assisting people with addictions”.
It’s written response to RTE added: “Residents in early stages of recovery do not engage in fundraising nor do they handle large amounts of cash”.
With regard to permits it said: “… there was a breakdown in communication and some people fundraised without a proper permit or permission… this is no longer the case”.
You can view the RTE report.
Victory Outreach Dublin’s spokesman Stuart Murphy told the Irish Times that “residents fundraised voluntarily and money raised was used to fund the organisation which received no State monies”. He added that “he earliest a team started fundraising was 9.30am or 10am”.
Meanwhile, the Irish government has donated €1 million to three Irish charities – St Vincent de Paul, Protestant Aid and Crosscare – in recognition of fundraising difficulties following the ‘top up’ scandal.
 
Photo: addiction by Artem Furman on Shutterstock.com