Home > National drugs strategy goes to Department of Health.

Pike, Brigid and Nelson, Mairea (2011) National drugs strategy goes to Department of Health. Drugnet Ireland, Issue 38, Summer 2011, pp. 3-4.

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Transfer of functions from the Department of Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs
With effect from 1 May 2011, the functions of the disbanded Department of Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs transferred to other reconfigured Departments. The table below sets out the functions relevant to the drugs issue and the Departments to which they have transferred. 

Department responsible 
Community and rural development (including PEACE and INTERREG, dormant accounts and the Western Development Commission)
Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government
Co-ordination of the National Drugs Strategy
Equality, human rights, integration and disability
Department of Justice and Equality (these functions transferred with effect from 1 April 2011)
Charities regulation
Department of Justice and Equality 
Social inclusion
Department of Social Protection
Family policy
Department of Children and Youth Affairs 

(Taken from a notice posted on the home page of the Department of Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs  on 11 May 2011.)  

James Reilly TD, Minister for Health

 New units in the Department of Health
The functions relating to the co-ordination of the National Drugs Strategy have been assigned to two new units created in the Department of Health.

Drugs Programme Unit
The main function of this unit is to manage the Drugs Initiatives Programmes, which are primarily drug-related projects and initiatives in drugs task force areas.

Drugs Policy Unit

The main function of this unit is to oversee the implementation of the National Drugs Strategy 2009–2016 through the five pillars of supply reduction, prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and research.

These new units can be contacted by email at dpu@health.gov.ie

The National Advisory Committee on Drugs (NACD) now also comes within the remit of the Department of Health. Its main function is to advise the minister and the government in relation to the prevalence, prevention, treatment and consequences of drugs misuse. It also conducts and commissions research in relation to drug misuse

Roisín Shortall TD, Minister of State at the Department of Health
Co-ordination of drugs policy
On 31 May 2011 Roisín Shortall TD, the Minister of State at the Department of Health with responsibility for Primary Care, with lead responsibility for the National Drugs Strategy 2009–2016, responded to questions put to the Minister for Health in Dáil Éireann with regard to how drug policy will be co-ordinated at ministerial and departmental level.1 She and the Minister for Health, James Reilly TD, will both have roles – the Minister at Cabinet level, the Minister of State at Cabinet Committee level. While confirming that the Oversight Forum on Drugs (OFD) and the Drugs Advisory Group (DAG), established under the National Drugs Strategy, will both continue, she went on to talk solely about an ‘oversight committee’, the quarterly meetings of which she will chair, which indicates that she is referring to the OFD.
With regard to implementation of the strategy, there is an oversight committee, which I will chair, and that will continue to meet on a quarterly basis and identify any logjams, difficulties or delays in implementing the strategy. We are, therefore, serious about ensuring it is implemented in full. In addition, the Minister will be responsible for this issue at Cabinet level and it will continue to have a voice at the Cabinet table. The Cabinet sub-committee on social exclusion will deal with this issue as well and many of the officials involved in the oversight will feed into the sub-committee. It will receive attention there and the sub-committee will meet later this week. I will attend that meeting and I will be a voice in respect of the NDS.  …
The purpose of the oversight committee is to address issues such as crystal meth and other developments relating to illegal drugs. All the relevant bodies are represented at a senior level and one of the committee’s functions is to update all the members on current trends in respect of drug misuse. I give an assurance that all of the relevant agencies are represented at a senior level. I will convene the first meeting of the oversight committee in the coming weeks.
1. Shortall R (2011, 31 May) Parliamentary Debates Dáil Éireann (Official report: unrevised). Priority questions. Vol. 733 , No. 4, p. 10. National Drugs Strategy. Question 42. http://debates.oireachtas.ie/dail/2011/05/31/00010.asp


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