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Home > 30. Deputy Jimmy Deenihan asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the commitments that have been made by the Office of Minister for Drugs by leading Departments to tackle the drugs problems in 2010. [8299/10]

[Oireachtas] 30. Deputy Jimmy Deenihan asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the commitments that have been made by the Office of Minister for Drugs by leading Departments to tackle the drugs problems in 2010. [8299/10]. (18 Feb 2010)

External website: http://debates.oireachtas.ie/dail/2010/02/18/00038...


Substance Misuse Strategy. 

30. Deputy Jimmy Deenihan asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the commitments that have been made by the Office of Minister for Drugs by leading Departments to tackle the drugs problems in 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
 
 31. Deputy Joe Costello asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs if he will make a statement on the progress to date in 2010 regarding the implementation of the national drugs strategy.
 
Minister of State at the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs (Deputy John Curran): I propose to take Questions Nos. 30 and 31 together.
 
I am confident that the implementation of the National Drugs Strategy (NDS) 2009-2016 will provide a comprehensive response to problem drug use in Ireland, and good progress is being made on its implementation.
 
The Strategy seeks 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. This pillar approach has been retained from the previous NDS as (i) it has proven effective to date, (ii) it was widely supported during the consultation process on a new Strategy, and (iii) it dovetails with the EU Action Plan on Drugs 2009-2012. I believe that the actions set out in the Strategy will facilitate a planned and monitored approach to achieving the overall strategic objective.
 
As part of the NDS, I will be meeting twice a year with a number of Ministers and various senior officials who are tasked with implementing various actions. I completed the first round of such meetings before Christmas and as part of that process, I stressed the need for Departments and agencies to ensure that high priority is given to achieving the objectives of the Strategy. These meetings facilitated a good exchange of views, and they also focused on the importance of the continued effective implementation of other programmes that impact on the broader issues underpinning problem drug use.
 
A number of the actions of the NDS focus on co-ordination arrangements for its implementation, and some changes have been made to the institutional structures involved, including the establishment of an Office of the Minister for Drugs. I believe that these changes will streamline administration and facilitate more effective co-ordination and partnership.
 
A Drugs Advisory Group has been set up under the Strategy, with membership from across the statutory, community and voluntary sectors. This Group, which meets regularly, advises me on operational matters relating to the NDS and oversees and supports the work of the Drugs Task Forces.
 
An Oversight Forum on Drugs, which I chair, has also been established and meets on a quarterly basis. The primary role of the Forum, which has met twice to date, is the on-going high level examination of progress across the Strategy and addressing of any operational difficulties and blockages that arise. Following the next meeting in April, a comprehensive report on progress across the Actions of the Strategy will be circulated to Drugs Task Forces.
 
The current structural arrangements in place to support the implementation of the Strategy will, I believe, provide the basis for more robust monitoring of progress. They will also provide a mechanism to identify blockages at an early stage, thus allowing any problems to be followed up. I am determined that real progress will be made across the period of the Strategy with all sectors working in a co-ordinated and targeted way to achieve the implementation of the agreed actions.
 
Vol. 702 No. 4  
Written answers – Substance Misuse Strategy
Thursday, 18 February 2010

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