Wednesday, 3 June 2020
Department of Health
Misuse of Drugs
527. To ask the Minister for Health if his Department or the HSE will launch a public awareness campaign in 2020 on the dangers of casual drug use; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8380/20]
The Government is committed to a health-led approach to drug use and to developing harm reduction interventions for at risk groups, as set out in the national drugs strategy Reducing Harm, Supporting Recovery, a health-led response to drug and alcohol use in Ireland 2017-2020.
The Department of Health works with the HSE to raise awareness of the dangers associated with drugs through the Drugs.ie website. The site provides a comprehensive range of information and supports related to substance use.
Recently, the HSE launched Know the Score, the first national evidence-based resource on alcohol and drugs for senior cycle students. It aims to engage young people in exploring and considering a wide range of topics related to the risks associated with alcohol and drugs.
The Department of Health, as part of the introduction of the Health Diversion Programme, is providing €100,000 in 2020 to develop a national harm reduction campaign to raise awareness of the risks associated with drug use. This will include the use of club drugs, festival drug use and new trends. While this campaign was originally scheduled for the latter part of 2020, this timetable may need to be revised given the draw on resources in dealing with Covid 19.
I strongly support treating substance misuse and drug addiction as a public health issue. This does not mean we should be complacent about the risks associated with drug use, especially for young people. I believe that a multi-faceted approach, involving online resources, in-school interventions and targeted awareness campaigns, can minimise the risk of substance misuse among young people.