Thursday, 5 March 2020
Department of Health
Drug and Alcohol Task Forces
662. To ask the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the fact that funding for drug taskforces in Dublin was almost 9% lower in 2019 than in 2010; if a commitment will be made to increase annually over a 10-year period, the funding for local drug and alcohol taskforces until it is back to 2008 levels; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3173/20]
Drug and Alcohol Task Forces play a key role in assessing the extent and nature of the drug problem in local communities. They ensure that a coordinated approach is taken across all sectors to address substance misuse based on the identified needs and priorities in their areas.
The Department of Health and the HSE provide total annual funding of €28m to task forces for local initiatives to tackle drug and alcohol use and misuse, in line with the National Drugs Strategy. Task forces use this funding to support over 280 community projects throughout the country.
The overall allocation to task forces was reduced between 2011 and 2013 due to the fiscal crisis. Since 2014, funding provided to task forces has remained constant.
In 2019, the Department provided additional funding of €1m to support the implementation of the National Drugs Strategy. Budget 2020 provided for the continuation of this additional €1m in 2020.
In 2019, €480,000 of this funding provided an additional €20,000 for each of the 24 task forces, with €10,000 recurring on a permanent annual basis. The remaining funding is being provided for 14 new strategic drug and alcohol initiatives. These initiatives will each receive funding of €190,000 over 36 months until mid 2022.
The strategic initiatives reflect priorities agreed between the community health organisations and the task forces to ensure that resources are targeted at groups most in need.
Measuring the overall effectiveness of the response to the drug problem is an important objective of drug policy. Resources should be directed towards interventions and strategies which are most likely to lead to a reduction in problem substance use and an improvement in public health, safety and well-being.
The allocation of resources for task forces is decided on an annual basis as part of the Estimates process. The provision of additional funding is a matter for consideration in the 2021 Budget.