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Home > Taoiseach launches new National Drugs Strategy 2009-2016.

Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs. [Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs] Taoiseach launches new National Drugs Strategy 2009-2016. (10 Sep 2009)

Press release:

An Taoiseach Brian Cowen T.D. today (10/09/09) launched a new National Drugs Strategy to cover the period 2009-2016.   He was accompanied at the launch by John Curran, T.D., Minister of State with responsibility for the National Drugs Strategy. 

The overall objective of the new Strategy, which was finalised by Minister Curran following an extensive consultation process, is to continue to tackle the harm caused to individuals and society by the misuse of drugs through a concerted focus on the five “pillars” of supply reduction, prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and research. 
Despite the successes achieved in recent years, the Taoiseach acknowledged that problem drug use continues to be a significant challenge facing our country.  “Very significant progress has been made under the previous Strategy, but the drugs problem continues to evolve and to throw up new challenges,” he said. 
Mr. Cowen continued, “real partnership has been evident across the initiatives of the National Drugs Strategy at national, regional and local level.  This partnership across the community, voluntary and statutory sectors will be deepened further over the coming years.”  He went on to acknowledge the role of Regional and Local Drugs Task Forces and added.  “I pay tribute to the continued efforts of those working in, and supporting, drug projects in local communities and I acknowledge the huge contribution made by the community and voluntary sectors in this work.”

The Taoiseach stressed the need to get across a strong prevention message to our young people so that experimentation with drugs is avoided and said “we must continue to be creative in engaging with young people and seek ways to promote healthier lifestyle choices among them.”

Minister Curran said that “problem substance use can only be effectively tackled through a whole of society approach that challenges our perceptions.”  He identified the need for drug users, particularly those who see themselves as “so called recreational drug users,” to take a hard look at themselves - not only at the health and societal costs for themselves, but also at the costs inflicted on other people, particularly those in the communities most afflicted by gangland activity associated with the supply of drugs.”
Minister of State Curran referred to the establishment of the Office of the Minister for Drugs which began operation on 1st September, “the new OMD will streamline service administration and further improve co-ordination across the statutory, community and voluntary sectors.  This will facilitate me, as Minister of State who is given responsibility by Government for the National Drugs Strategy, to effectively fulfill that role. It will also provide robust assurances in regard to governance and accountability that are so important in times of limited resources to ensure that value for money is being achieved.”
Mr. Curran also referred to the broader Substance Misuse Strategy that the Government has agreed should be developed to include alcohol and drugs.  “I had been to the forefront in calling for such a joined-up approach and I very much welcome this development.  We have the drugs element in place now and I intend to push on with the speedy finalisation of the expanded Strategy,” he said.
At the launch, as well as signalling the continuation of the successful “Dial to Stop Drugs” campaign, Minister of State Curran announced he has allocated capital funding of €1.1 million towards the development by the HSE of drug treatment clinics  in Limerick, Cork, Waterford, Enniscorthy, Drogheda and Dundalk to better address the needs arising.  He also revealed that the HSE and the Irish Pharmacy Union have agreed a plan, supported by the Elton John AIDS Foundation, to roll out needle exchange services through Community Pharmacies in 65 new locations.  “It is heartening to see a public figure like Elton John being involved in such work and I thank him and the Foundation for their support for this initiative in Ireland,” he said.
Minister or State Curran added, “I am determined to tackle the issue of problem substance use over the coming years and I believe the new National Drugs Strategy will facilitate this.  Targeted actions across the pillars of the Strategy, with named agencies allocated responsibility for each, are included in the Strategy and it is intended to develop an overall performance management framework to monitor and assess progress.”
“The problems are major and resources may be scarce, but I look forward to working with my colleagues in other Departments and Agencies, and in partnership across the statutory, community and voluntary sectors, to ensure that real and lasting progress is made over the lifetime of the new National Drugs Strategy for the benefit of individuals, their families and their communities,” he concluded.
An electronic copy may be viewed at
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10 September 2009
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Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs
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