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Home > 28. Deputy Catherine Byrne asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the efforts that are being made by drugs task forces in communities to highlight the dangers of drug and alcohol misuse at regular information evenings. [8410/10]

[Oireachtas] 28. Deputy Catherine Byrne asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the efforts that are being made by drugs task forces in communities to highlight the dangers of drug and alcohol misuse at regular information evenings. [8410/10]. (18 Feb 2010)

External website: http://debates.oireachtas.ie/dail/2010/02/18/00036...


Substance Misuse Strategy.

28. Deputy Catherine Byrne  asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs  the efforts that are being made by drugs task forces in communities to highlight the dangers of drug and alcohol misuse at regular information evenings; the way taskforces promote such events; the way they inform the wider community, not just persons already involved in drug addiction services; if such events are organised on a scheduled or ad hoc basis; his views on making such public events a requirement for each taskforce; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
 
Minister of State at the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs (Deputy John Curran):  As the role of the Drugs Task Forces is to facilitate greater local/regional focus on drugs issues and provide a more co-ordinated response to them, I recognise that raising awareness is a key element of their work.
 
The Deputy will be aware that each Drugs Task Force has an annual funding allocation from my Department for community-based drugs initiatives. From that allocation, each Task Force has the discretion to allocate funding to projects and initiatives based on the priorities it has identified for its respective area.
 
There are a significant number of projects being funded through the Task Forces which aim to create greater societal awareness about the dangers and prevalence of substance misuse. Many of the funded projects focus specifically on drug awareness, ranging from local drug awareness events to other initiatives such as “Awareness Weeks”. Such measures have proven to be effective as many of them focus on the issues particular to their own localities.
 
As I have stated above, each Task Force can opt to fund various initiatives and I have not been prescriptive on how awareness raising should be addressed. The nature, format, extent and frequency of such activities fall for decision by the individual Task Force. Notwithstanding this, I am aware that there is a variety of media through which the Task Forces disseminate information and promote the different activities and programmes. These range from website notices, local advertising, linkages with community fora/councils, through Task Force members, notices on community focussed websites, etc.
 
The Deputy should note that dedicated funding was also provided by my Department to the Task Forces to run cocaine awareness campaigns to dovetail with the HSE’s National Cocaine Awareness Campaign. A wide variety of activities was used to promote the campaign in the respective areas, including notices on public information events and information evenings with guest speakers. These included, amongst other media, leaflet drops and newsletters.
 
I would, of course, always encourage Task Forces to promote and link in with any relevant national campaigns and adopt an all-encompassing approach to reach the appropriate target audience.
 
Vol. 702 No. 4  
Written answers – Substance Misuse Strategy
Thursday, 18 February 2010

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