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Home > Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 123 - National drugs strategy [30657/16].

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 123 - National drugs strategy [30657/16]. (18 Oct 2016)

123. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Health the additional funding that is being provided for the drugs strategy in 2017; the targets the funds are expected to deliver; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30657/16]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Catherine Byrne):  On 12 October 2016, I announced the allocation of an additional €3m in the 2017 Budget to increase support for interventions aimed at improving the health outcomes of the most vulnerable in our society, including Traveller and Roma communities, those affected by addiction issues, those experiencing homelessness and asylum seekers and refugees.

The additional funding will also be used to support the establishment of a pilot supervised injecting facility in Dublin city centre during 2017. Legislation is being drafted to allow for the establishment and licensing of supervised injecting facilities by the Minister for Health. Drafting is at advanced stage and it is intended to publish the Bill during the current Dáil session.

I also intend to use the additional funding to address my other key priorities, which include increasing the availability of buprenorphine/naloxone treatment, as an alternative treatment, for the identified cohorts of patients for whom methadone treatment is not suitable; addressing gaps in addiction service provision for under 18s and providing more detox places in community and residential settings next year.

As the Deputy will be aware, a Steering Committee, with an independent chair, has been established to advise me on a new National Drugs Strategy, which will take effect in 2017, when the current policy expires. I expect to receive a report from the Steering Committee early in the New Year. Minister Harris and I intend to develop and bring to Government a proposal for multi-annual investment in drugs as part of the memorandum for Government on the new Strategy.

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