Home > Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 43 - Drug treatment programme [31275/06].

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 43 - Drug treatment programme [31275/06]. (05 Oct 2006)

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43. Mr. Howlin asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the efforts being made to liaise with local communities regarding the benefits to the entire community of rehabilitation services for drug users; his views on whether an information campaign on this important issue should be launched. [31275/06]

Minister of State at the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs (Mr. N. Ahern): It has long been an aim of the National Drugs Strategy to convince communities of the benefits to the drug misuser, his/her family and the whole community of placing drug treatment and rehabilitation services in local communities to meet local demand. Indeed local provision of these services greatly helps to avoid the kind of problems that those who oppose such developments tend to fear. The Local Drugs Task Forces, and the more recently established Regional Drugs Task Forces, provide the key mechanism for the co-ordination of mainstream treatment and rehabilitation services in their areas, while also facilitating the participation of local communities and voluntary organisations in the planning, design and delivery of some services.

Drugs Task Forces are made up of nominees from Departments and agencies working in the region, involved, as well as community and voluntary representatives. Rehabilitation of problem drug users is a key element of all Local Drug Task Force and Regional Drug Task Force plans, and gaining acceptance of local service provision has been a central part of the activities of the Task Forces. This has been achieved in many Drugs Task Force areas and where local opposition was encountered this was dealt with at a local level. Indeed there is an increasing acceptance within most communities of the need for local treatment and rehabilitation services, with a few unfortunate exceptions, some of which have got extensive media coverage recently. We will continue to facilitate local endeavours and work to convince reluctant communities through the success of facilities in other areas. The need for a wider information campaign will be kept under review.

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