Written answers

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Department of Health

National Drugs Strategy Budget

Photo of Billy KelleherBilly Kelleher (Cork North Central, Fianna Fail)
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196. To ask the Minister for Health the total spend on the national drugs strategy for each of the years 2009 to 2014; the estimated spend for 2015; his views that the strategy is successful in treating heroin addiction; his views on the results and outcomes from the methadone maintenance programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26479/15]

Photo of Aodhán Ó RíordáinAodhán Ó Ríordáin (Dublin North Central, Labour)
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The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction reports that methadone is the most commonly prescribed substitution treatment for problem opiate use in Europe. In conjunction with other services and supports, methadone maintenance treatment is a critical stabilising treatment that provides a pathway to recovery for the individual affected by problem substance use. The latest figures from the HSE indicate that over 9,892 clients were receiving methadone maintenance treatment at the end of April 2015. Retention in methadone treatment is generally considered a positive goal in service provision.

Treatment interventions, including methadone maintenance, have been shown to result in reduced drug use, as well as improved health and social outcomes for clients, and a reduction in drug-related crime. Harm reduction interventions, such as needle exchange, also result in better health outcomes for clients, reducing the incidence of blood-borne viruses. There is clear evidence that having access to drug treatment is one of the main factors in reducing drug-related deaths.

Details of the expenditure attributable to drugs programmes from 2009 to date, as well as the estimated allocation for 2015, are outlined in the following table. The decrease in HSE expenditure in 2011 compared to 2010 arose due to savings achieved as a result of the public service pay cut, HSE staffing redundancies and a reduction in funding to Voluntary and Community Agencies. Further savings were identified by the HSE in 2014 and these have been taken account of in determining the 2015 allocation. I am advised by the HSE that frontline services have been maintained and no reductions have been made to existing services in 2015.

The reduction in the Department of Health allocation in 2014 and 2015 respectively reflects the fact that the Department transferred €21.04m in funding relating to Drug and Alcohol Task Force projects to the HSE on 1st January 2014, with a further €1.02m transferring on 1 January 2015.

Department/Agency2009 (€m)2010 (€m)2011 (€m)2012 (€m)2013 (€m)2014 (€m)2015 (€m)
HSE Addiction Services104.867105.40092.87889.36890.39286.12286.279
HSE Drug and Alcohol Task Force Projects0000021.57022.593
An Garda Síochána45.00444.50045.01445.85044.00043.00043.000
D/Children & Youth Affairs28.50125.74024.98722.73020.31019.54819.548
D/Justice & Equality14.80114.47818.68118.58018.55318.76218.928
Revenue Customs Service15.86715.79715.47014.24114.62416.23516.235
D/Social Protection (former FÁS area)18.80018.00015.63411.85913.43414.06313.702
Irish Prison Service5.0005.2005.2005.0004.5004.2004.285
D/Education & Skills3.6432.4610.4110.8150.8100.7480.746
D/Environment, Community & Local Government0.4610.4610.4000.200000


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