Written answers

Tuesday, 2 July 2019

Department of Health

Drug and Alcohol Task Forces

Photo of Tony McLoughlinTony McLoughlin (Sligo-Leitrim, Fine Gael)
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470. To ask the Minister for Health his plans to roll out new localised pilot schemes aimed at tackling and preventing drug and alcohol addiction in local communities which can and will operate and develop outside the governance of the local or regional drug and alcohol taskforces; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28068/19]

Photo of Catherine ByrneCatherine Byrne (Dublin South Central, Fine Gael)
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Drug and Alcohol Task Forces play a key role in assessing the extent and nature of the drug problem in local communities and in ensuring that a coordinated approach is taken across all sectors to address substance misuse.

The Department of Health provides in the region of €28 million to task forces annually through various channels of funding, including the HSE.

Task forces are responsible for allocating money to suitable projects based on locally identified needs and priorities. Applications for funding of prevention initiatives should be made to the relevant task force, in the first instance, for consideration.

I announced on 6thMarch 2019, of one million euro for the implementation of the National Drugs Strategy; Reducing Harm, Supporting Recovery. This funding, which will be provided on a recurring, multi-annual basis, will address the priorities set down in the strategy including early harm reduction responses to emerging trends in substance misuse, and improving access to services for people with complex needs.

Following consideration of the outcome of a consultation process with task forces and community healthcare organisations, I approved a three-strand funding model for this additional funding. Task Forces were notified of this funding model on 17 May. A series of regional workshops took place in June outlining the details of scheme and the application process for this funding. The deadline for the receipt of applications for this funding is 29 July.

I am committed to implementing an integrated public health response to substance misuse, with the twin aims of reducing harm and supporting recovery. Working in partnership with task forces and Community Healthcare Organisations, I am confident that the allocation of additional resources in 2019 will make a significant contribution to achieving this objective.


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