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Home > Midland Regional Drugs Task Force: action plan 2006-2008

Foran, Sinead (2006) Midland Regional Drugs Task Force: action plan 2006-2008. Drugnet Ireland , Issue 20, Winter 2006 , p. 13.

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The Midland Regional Drugs Task Force (MRDTF), one of 10 regional drugs task forces (RDTFs), was established in 2003 with the assistance of the National Drugs Strategy Team (NDST). It covers counties Laois, Offaly, Longford and Westmeath.  In November 2005 the MRDTF published its first action plan1 to tackle drug misuse in the region.

The MRDTF action plan is the result of an extensive consultation process carried out in the region in 2005. This process allowed relevant statutory, voluntary and community groups to contribute to the development of the plan. Key issues relating to drug misuse in the region were identified, along with suggestions for addressing these issues; all contributions were taken into account by the MRDTF in the development of the action plan.

The plan sets out actions relating to the four pillars of the National Drugs Strategy. It includes a further strand concerned with structure, governance and ways of working.  Alcohol use is not included in this plan except where it concerns under-18s, on the basis that alcohol is not an illicit drug. The following key actions are given high and urgent priority:

Education/Prevention

  • Establish an inter-agency team in the MRDTF to develop and deliver accredited training programmes on substance misuse to local community development groups.
  • Develop and disseminate a range of materials appropriate to relevant audiences, and train individuals to deliver these materials, with particular emphasis on out-of-school settings, non-formal education and parent-support settings.
  • Design, develop and deliver a drugs education programme to GPs and pharmacies.
  • Encourage and support the implementation of the Youth Work Act 2001 by assisting in the development of youth action plans and ensuring that substance misuse prevention is a key component of the plans.
  • Ensure that all schools and other educational and training establishments implement a comprehensive substance misuse prevention programme and appoint a worker to support these programmes.

Treatment/Rehabilitation

  • Provide and support a residential treatment/rehabilitation programme in the region.
  • Provide a range of drop-in centres and facilities throughout the region for those affected by substance misuse. Initially this will involve four pilot projects, with a long- term goal to expand to twelve.
  • Establish a support service for under-18s that is in line with the under-18s protocol.
  • Ensure that drug users have access to detoxification programmes within the region.
  • Establish a users group to provide feedback in relation to services in the region and to act as a support group for users.

Supply reduction

  • Extend the community policing fora into the MRDTF area.
  • Promote and support the establishment of estate-management programmes in high-priority estates in all four counties in the region.
  • Explore the potential use of non-custodial interventions in tackling drug misuse.

Research

  • Establish a programme for collecting local information that is up to date, using existing research mechanisms and a template designed for collecting data at a local level.
  • Engage with young people in the region to ascertain their views.

Structure, governance and ways of working

  • Select members of the MRDTF from among voluntary, community and public representatives, and senior decision makers in relevant agencies
  •  Appoint an MRDTF co-ordinator, a development worker and an administrator.
  • Design and deliver an induction programme for new staff members and organise relevant training programmes for all members of the MRDTF.
  • Initiate and support the establishment of community drug action groups in each major town of the region.
  • Explore a co-ordinated approach between initiatives to deal with illicit drug use and alcohol abuse among teenagers and develop appropriate actions for reducing alcohol consumption. 

 1. Midland Regional Drugs Task Force (2006) Action Plan 2006–2008. Tullamore:  Midland Regional Drugs Task Force.

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