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Pike, Brigid (2007) National Development Plan and the drugs issue. Drugnet Ireland, Issue 21, spring 2007, pp. 23-25.

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On 23 January 2007 the National Development Plan 2007–2013 (NDP) was launched.1 Setting out the government’s investment plans (€184 billion) for the next seven years, the NDP includes funding for measures to address the drugs issue under three of its five priority areas – Social Inclusion, Human Capital and Social Infrastructure. Some of this funding will support specifically drug-related measures, but larger amounts will support measures aimed at broader groups such as the socially excluded, the disadvantaged, the isolated, the vulnerable, those outside the mainstream educational system or ‘distant from the labour market’ – all categories in which drug misusers may be found.

Under the Social Inclusion Priority (€49.6 billion in total), the NDP earmarks €319 million for the ‘National Drugs Strategy Sub-Programme’, subsumed under the Local and Community Programme. Allocated on an annual basis through the Vote of the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs (which has responsibility for the overall co-ordination of the National Drugs Strategy), this €319 million will be channelled mainly through two existing funding mechanisms – the drugs task forces and the Young People’s Facilities and Services Fund (YPFSF). In respect of these two funding mechanisms, the NDP states:

°          The range of projects being undertaken through the Local Drugs and Regional Drugs Task Forces will be developed and strengthened over the coming years. Strategic plans, developed by the Drugs Task Forces and based on the identified needs of the areas involved, will continue to be central to the effort to counteract the problems of drug misuse.

°          The YPFSF will continue to assist in the development of youth facilities (including sport and recreational facilities) and services in disadvantaged areas where a significant drug problem exists or has the potential to develop. The geographic coverage of the Fund may be expanded to other disadvantaged urban areas. The YPFSF will continue to target 10 to 21 year olds who are ‘at risk’ due to factors including family circumstances, educational disadvantage or involvement in crime or substance misuse. The Fund will continue to build on and complement youth measures under the Children’s Programme in the areas where it is operational. (p. 265)

Over the past 10 years some €245 million has been allocated to these initiatives. Between 1997 and July 2004, some €84 million was allocated to the local drugs task forces, and in 2006 some €12 million was allocated to the regional drugs task forces. Between 2000 and 2006 the YPFSF was allocated €149.65 million.

Acknowledging that the National Drugs Strategy will expire in 2008, the NDP endorses the current approach in the short-term – ‘the focus of drugs policy in the coming years will continue to be on illegal drugs that do the most harm and on the most vulnerable drug misusers, their families and communities’. It also highlights the partnership approach and the importance of evidence-based approaches. The NDP also confirms the pillars of the Strategy and the recommendations made in the mid-term review, including, among other things, extending the availability and range of treatment options in response to emerging needs, including the increased prevalence of cocaine and polydrug use; implementing the (soon to be announced) integrated rehabilitation framework as a priority in the coming years; and using education and awareness programmes and sport and recreational alternatives to divert people (particularly young people) away from drug use.

The drugs issue will also be addressed through other programmes under the Social Inclusion Priority, including those targeting children and young people, people of working age who find themselves outside the mainstream educational system, at a distance from the labour market, or in need of reintegration into society after spending time in prison, and communities seeking to identify and address issues and challenges, such as the drugs issue, in their own areas.

Allocations under two other investment priorities, which may be expected to have an impact on drug-related matters 

Priority

Programme

Sub-Programme

Comment

Human Capital (€25.8 billion)

Training and Skills Development

 

Upskilling the Workforce (€2.8 billion)

Will seek to ensure that persons with little or no education or skills are not isolated and vulnerable to potential economic downturn. This will be delivered through measures which address early school leaving through combining education with labour market participation and upskilling.

Activation and Participation of Groups outside the Workforce

(€4.9 billion)

Will provide training and development programmes for a wide range of groups requiring special interventions, such as Travellers and ex-offenders.

Social Infrastructure (€33.6 billion)

Health Infrastructure

Primary, Community and Continuing Care

(€2.1 billion)

Will help to improve the physical facilities required to implement the national policy on team-based primary healthcare, including primary care infrastructure at local level, the delivery of local services in an integrated way, the fullest possible integration between hospital and community-based services, better or increased access to services, and the development of strong community-based supports for vulnerable or targeted population groups. The NDP notes that access to a quality multi-disciplinary primary care service was one of the issues raised in public consultations on poverty and social inclusion, and that disadvantaged groups have greater needs for the varying elements of such a service and therefore potentially more to gain from it. 

Justice 

(€2.3 billion)

Not broken down into sub-programmes

Detention and rehabilitation facilities are to be improved. New prison complexes in Dublin and Munster will enable the Irish Prison Service to develop modern rehabilitative facilities for prisoners. In respect of juvenile detention, investment will fund the redevelopment of existing detention facilities and the development of new facilities to meet the provisions of the Children Act 2001 in respect of offending children aged under 18 years sentenced to detention by the courts.

Sports, Culture, Heritage and Community

Sports (€991 million)

Will support the availability of a range of facilities for sporting, exercise and recreational purposes. Among other benefits, sport is explicitly regarded as an alternative for young people at risk of engaging in anti-social activity, drug abuse or other criminal activity.

 

  

1.  National Development Plan 2007–2013: Transforming Ireland –a better quality of life for all. Dublin: Stationery Office.  Funding under the NDP is allocated across five investment ‘priorities’, and under each of these priorities there is a series of ‘programmes’ (28 in total) and ‘sub-programmes’ (some 86 in total).

Item Type
Article
Publication Type
Irish-related, Open Access, Article
Drug Type
All substances
Issue Title
Issue 21, spring 2007
Date
January 2007
Page Range
pp. 23-25
Publisher
Health Research Board
Volume
Issue 21, spring 2007
EndNote
Accession Number
HRB (Available)

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