Home > Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 347 - National drugs strategy implementation [44300/14].

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 347 - National drugs strategy implementation [44300/14]. (18 Nov 2014)

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347. Deputy Eoghan Murphy asked the Minister for Health his views that the Government is doing enough to address the drug addiction and the drug abuse problem in Dublin city centre, including with discrepancies in the law (details supplied). [44300/14] 

Minister for Health (Deputy Leo Varadkar): In line with the National Drugs Strategy, the Health Service Executive (HSE) has developed a national treatment and rehabilitation service that provides drug free and harm reduction approaches for problem substance users. The HSE provide a variety of drug treatment interventions to reduce drug-related harm and which encourage problem substance users to engage with, and avail of such services. These services include needle exchange provision, together with evidence-based treatment options such as methadone maintenance treatment, counselling and community and residential rehabilitation. 

In an effort to respond to the problem of drug-related anti-social behaviour in Dublin city centre, the HSE, in partnership with a local voluntary service provider, Dublin City Council and an Garda Síochána have set up an assertive case management programme to engage with the cohort who are involved in public drug use. The pilot programme, which will be monitored and evaluated, is designed to provide best possible outcomes for these individuals and address their issues of homelessness and addiction using shared resources. The HSE also cooperate with the local community representatives of the North and South Inner City and with local Gardaí to minimise any negative public order issues that may arise in the vicinity of its treatment centres. 

The National Drugs Strategy is a high priority in Government and I work closely with my cabinet colleagues, including the Minister for Justice, to ensure its full implementation. The Oversight Forum on Drugs, which I chair, monitors progress on the delivery of frontline services and addresses operational difficulties and blockages in implementing the Strategy. This forum brings together the key Government departments and agencies involved in the implementation of the Strategy. 

In relation to the particular matter raised, the Deputy will appreciate that judges are independent in the matter of sentencing, as in other matters concerning the exercise of judicial functions, subject only to the Constitution and the law.

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