Home > Government Progress Report 2004: the drugs issue.

Pike, Brigid (2004) Government Progress Report 2004: the drugs issue. Drugnet Ireland , Issue 12, December 2004 , pp. 16-17.

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In August the government published its second annual progress report on An Agreed Programme for Government (June 2002). Progress on drug-related priorities and targets includes the following:

Supply reduction

Progress is reported in developing a co-ordinating framework within each Garda District, to liaise with the community on drug-related matters and to act as a source of information for parents and members of the public.

·         A co-ordinating framework linking Garda District, Divisional and National Drug Policing Plans is currently being put in place by the Garda authorities.

·         The Garda Síochána Bill 2004 (published in February 2004) provides for the development of Joint Policing Committees at local-authority level and for the establishment of local policing fora in designated areas under the umbrella of such committees.

·         These bodies are to act as fora where matters relating to local issues of policing and crime, including drug-related issues, can be discussed and where strategies and recommendations for dealing with issues locally can be formulated.

·         A pilot Community Policing Forum initiative in Dublin’s North Inner City has now been positively evaluated and has been approved for mainstreaming from January 2005 in accordance with procedures under the National Drugs Strategy. Other such fora are being supported on a pilot basis.

Drugs in prisons

·         The draft Prison Drugs Policy currently being considered includes provision for treatment, rehabilitation and mandatory drug testing.

·         Measures continue to be taken to reduce supply, for example, searching procedures, physical security including nets over exercise yards, CCTV in visiting rooms and new visitor procedures.

·         A new set of Prison Rules, which will make provision for mandatory drug testing, is currently with the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel.

Prevention

·         The 10 Regional Drugs Task Forces (RDTFs) have been established. They are currently working on mapping out the patterns of drug misuse in their areas, as well as services, including prevention, already available, with a view to co-ordinating these existing services and addressing gaps in service provision. Their plans are expected to become operational from mid-2005.

·         The Department of Education and Science has established eight regional offices and a further two are due to be established before the end of 2004. Personnel from these offices will represent the Department on the RDTFs and, where relevant, on the Local Drugs Task Forces (LDTFs). Appointments have been made by the Department to six of the ten RDTFs and the remaining four appointments will be made by the end of 2004.

Treatment

·         Health boards are continuing to work towards achieving immediate access for drug misusers to professional assessment and counselling, followed by commencement of treatment as deemed appropriate, not later than one month after assessment. The Progress Report states that direct access to counselling and assessment is in place, especially in larger urban centres.

·         There has been an increase in the numbers of general practitioners and pharmacists involved in the delivery of drug treatment. At the end of March 2004, there were 309 general practitioners and 298 pharmacists participating in the scheme. By the end of March 2004 there were 6,902 people registered on the Central Treatment List.

New initiatives announced in the 2002 Agreed Programme for Government, for which progress is not reported, include:

·         the Garda Working Group tasked with examining drug prevalence levels and distribution networks and recommending appropriate resourcing requirements in light of its findings;

·         the Drug Offenders Bill, which is intended to provide for registration of convicted drug dealers with the Gardaí and to provide for stiffer penalties for persons involved in the supply of drugs to a prisoner;

·         corporate social responsibility initiatives in relation to combating drug misuse.

Electronic versions of An Agreed Programme for Government and the Government Progress Report for 2003 and 2004 are available on the Department of the Taoiseach website at http://www.taoiseach.gov.ie

Item Type:Article
Issue Title:Issue 12, December 2004
Date:December 2004
Page Range:pp. 16-17
Publisher:Health Research Board
Volume:Issue 12, December 2004
EndNote:View
Accession Number:HRB (Available)
Subjects:VA Geographic area > Europe > Ireland
MP-MR Policy, planning, economics, work and social services > Policy > Policy on substance use
MP-MR Policy, planning, economics, work and social services > Programme planning, implementation, and evaluation

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