Home > Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 384 - National Drugs Strategy [Youth services] [31691/16].

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 384 - National Drugs Strategy [Youth services] [31691/16]. (25 Oct 2016)

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384. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Health the position regarding illegal drug use by young persons for each county; the programmes that are in place in each county to combat this issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31691/16]


Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Catherine Byrne): Government policy on tackling the drug problem is set out in the National Drugs Strategy 2009-2016. The overall objective of the Strategy is to continue 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. The Strategy is a cross cutting area of public policy and service delivery which requires a coordinated response by Government Departments and Agencies, in conjunction with the Community and Voluntary Sectors, to tackle the drugs problem.


The overall expenditure on drugs programmes by Government Departments and Agencies in 2015 came to €238.5m, of which about €120m related to services operated by the HSE and by the Local and Regional Drug and Alcohol Task Forces. Each Task Force has an allocation for community-based drugs initiatives set up to tackle the drugs problem under each pillar of the Strategy, including education and prevention programmes which aim to promote healthier lifestyle choices among young people and other vulnerable groups at risk of problem drug use.

Substance use education in schools is provided in the context of Social Personal and Health Education. The Department of Education and Skills Inspectorate continues to monitor the effectiveness of the implementation of substance use policies in schools through the whole-school evaluation process and the inspectorate system. In addition, significant investment has been made in the Garda Youth Diversion Programme to divert at risk young people from becoming involved in criminal behaviour, including drug related crime, and preventing their succumbing to drug misuse.


I wish to inform the Deputy that the most recently published data regarding illegal drug use is contained in the 2010/11 Drug Prevalence Survey. The results of this survey provide details of prevalence of drug use by age, gender and regional drug and alcohol Task Force areas. It is anticipated that the results of the 2014/15 drug prevalence survey will be published by the end of the year.

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