Thursday, 14 April 2011
National Substance Misuse Strategy
Frances Fitzgerald (Minister, Department of Children; Dublin Mid West, Fine Gael)
As the Deputy will be aware, the Government has agreed, with effect from 1 May, to transfer the functions of the Minister for Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs for the national drugs strategy to the Minister for Health and Children. As Deputies will be aware, the functions that were performed in the Department of Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs are in the process of being moved, with a number having been transferred already. For example, the equality section has already moved to the Department of Justice and Equality and a number of the others will move within the next three weeks. The new Department will then be in a position to be formed and the functions formally given legally. Responsibility for the drugs strategy will move to the Department of Health and Children.
The Government is committed to supporting the principles and objectives of a national strategy to deal with issues relating to the misuse of both drugs and alcohol. This is made fully clear in the programme for Government, Government for National Recovery 2011-2016. A steering group, jointly chaired by my Department and the Department of Health and Children, has been working to develop proposals and make recommendations to Ministers on the alcohol aspects of a national substance misuse strategy. The drugs element of the strategy - the national drugs strategy 2009-2016 - is already in place.
The work of the steering group is well advanced and I expect that the report will be finalised and recommendations submitted to the Minister for Health and Children in the coming months. Decisions on the publication of the report will be made at that stage.