Home > Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 80 - National Drugs Strategy [38988/10].

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 80 - National Drugs Strategy [38988/10]. (03 Nov 2010)

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80. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs his views on whether the absence of community indicators along the lines of those recommended by reports (details supplied) from the national drugs strategy is a shortcoming and the steps he will take to develop and introduce such indicators.

Minister for Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs (Deputy Pat Carey): The indicators set out in the report referred to by the Deputy have now been incorporated into the procedures for all projects when requesting interim funding from a Drugs Task Force. This information provides for a significantly increased level of detail on project activity, including the target group involved, methods used, category of project, staffing levels and numbers of people accessing services. In addition, a more rigorous financial feedback system has been developed.
The Drugs Task Forces are charged with creating and maintaining an up-to-date overview on the nature and extent of drug use, and the services available in their area/region, through the gathering of all relevant information from the organisations and services involved. It is my view that Drugs Task Forces have a good overview of what the key issues facing their communities are with respect to problem drug use.
It is the role of all Drugs Task Force representatives to ensure that all relevant information available to their organisations is provided to the relevant Task Force for the purpose of developing a ‘Community Profile.’ This could include (as outlined in the NACD Report: A Community Drugs Study: Developing Community Indicators for Problem Drug Use (2006)):
      a profile of the range of drugs being used: information from the HSE (e.g. methadone treatment data) and the Health Research Board (e.g. data from the National Drug Treatment Reporting System);
      a profile of the local housing development (including information on evictions or potential evictions) and use of public spaces;
      a profile of drug-related deaths in the area;
      a profile of crime and community safety in the region (drugs seizures, public order and anti-social arrests and charges, acquisitive crime, seizures/ number of cases sent for forensic analysis, Garda data on known opiate users);
      social capital — informal social support networks, structure, density, size and composition by age, gender, ethnicity etc., including a profile of community participation/ volunteering; and
      school attendance.
The National Drug Treatment Reporting System (NDTRS) has been further developed over the last few years and it now provides for the extraction of information by Drugs Task Force area. This service is expected to be available on-line shortly, which will enable Drugs Task Forces to interrogate data with a view to gaining an understanding of treatment trends in their own areas.
Vol. 720 No. 4
Written Answers – National Drug Strategy
Wednesday 3 November

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