Thursday, 14 April 2011
National Substance Misuse Strategy
Frances Fitzgerald (Minister, Department of Children; Dublin Mid West, Fine Gael)
I take the Deputy's point on the publication of the strategy. There has been a delay in placing emphasis on a national misuse strategy. Further meetings of the steering group are to be scheduled and the recommendations will be finalised as quickly as possible. The report will then be given to the Minister for Health and Children and proposals are likely to be put to the Government shortly thereafter. That addresses the Deputy's question on urgency. This is an important report which should be brought before the Government as soon as possible. The issues that remain to be finalised by the steering group relate to supply reduction and include the ones the Deputy raised such as marketing, sponsorship, mixed trading and pricing. I look forward to receiving the group's recommendations. We know there are serious issues regarding glamourising access to alcohol and drugs by young people. Sponsorship is part and parcel of this and needs to be examined. The steering group is examining the issue seriously. We will examine the report when it is finalised and make a decision.