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Home > 13. Deputy Martin Ferris asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the process through which the next national drugs strategy is to be developed; and if he is confident that the new strategy will be delivered upon by all the Departments and agencies with relevant responsibilities in view of the failures that are evident in the implementation of the current strategy which concludes in 2008. [12266/08]

[Oireachtas] 13. Deputy Martin Ferris asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the process through which the next national drugs strategy is to be developed; and if he is confident that the new strategy will be delivered upon by all the Departments and agencies with relevant responsibilities in view of the failures that are evident in the implementation of the current strategy which concludes in 2008. [12266/08]. (03 Apr 2008)

URL: http://debates.oireachtas.ie/dail/2008/04/03/00024...


Minister of State at the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs (Deputy Pat Carey): I would not accept that there have been failures in the implementation of the current Strategy. While there have been difficulties in progressing some of the actions at the rate envisaged, my view is that the Strategy has had significant successes, be it in the areas of treatment and rehabilitation, supply reduction, prevention or research.

Some of the main achievements to date include:· the level of drugs seizures by the Gardaí and the Customs Service have been well in excess of the targets set out in the Strategy and they include a number of significant operations;· under the prevention pillar, the SPHE and Walk Tall programmes have been rolled out to all schools; awareness campaigns have been organised and tremendous achievements have been made under the Young Peoples Facilities and Services Fund;· treatment facilities have increased significantly, with approximately 8,600 clients now receiving methadone, and a range of services are being provided across the statutory, voluntary and community sectors for various types of problem drug use; and · research in areas such as drugs prevalence, the outcomes of treatment, families and drugs, the effect of drugs on communities and cocaine issues have all helped to inform our progress under the Strategy.

With regard to the new Strategy, two meetings of the Steering Group established to develop proposals for the period 2009 – 2016 have already been held, and the Group will continue to meet regularly in the coming months. As part of their work, the Group will be examining the progress and impact of the current National Drugs Strategy, the degree to which it continues to be relevant and the operational effectiveness of the structures involved. They will also be looking at developments in regard to drug policies at EU and international levels.

In addition, the Group are currently finalising details of the comprehensive public consultation process that will be undertaken over the coming 2-3 months as part of their work in developing the new Strategy. Indeed, the Deputy should note that I intend to be directly involved in many of the consultation meetings that are being planned at present. It is envisaged that the Steering Group will meet with the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Arts, Sports, Tourism, Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs to hear their views on the new strategy.

Overall, I am confident that the new Strategy will be finalised by the end of this year. In addition, I believe that the new Strategy will have the full co-operation and buy-in from all relevant Government Departments and Agencies involved. Vol. 650 No. 4 Written Answers Thursday, 3 April 2008

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