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Home > Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 482 - Drug and Alcohol Task Forces [34580/16] [Alcohol remit].

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 482 - Drug and Alcohol Task Forces [34580/16] [Alcohol remit]. (15 Nov 2016)


482. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Health if he will provide new additional funding to drugs and alcohol task forces to allow these groups to deal with alcohol within their remit; his views on the importance of this issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34580/16]


Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Catherine Byrne): In line with the National Drugs Strategy, the Government is committed to continuing support for initiatives to tackle the drug problem. Drug and Alcohol Task Forces play a key role in assessing the extent and nature of the drug problem in their areas and in coordinating action at local level, so that there is a targeted response to the problem of substance misuse in local communities.


 Following the 2011/12 Review of Drug Task Forces, increased responsibilities were given to Task Forces in relation to addressing the alcohol problem. In light of this expanded role, over €900,000 in additional funding has been made available to Drug and Alcohol Task Forces from the Dormant Accounts Fund for substance misuse initiatives. This initiative aims to promote healthier lifestyle choices throughout society in relation to alcohol, by influencing and raising awareness of alcohol harm among the general population and specific risk groups. In addition, through the Alcohol Forum, training has been provided to a number of Task Forces in developing local alcohol action plans.


 Every effort has been made to protect the budgets of Drug and Alcohol Task Forces in recent years. The overall allocation to Drug and Alcohol Task Forces for community-based drugs initiatives this year is in excess of €27.6 million, the same amount provided in 2014 and 2015. The Department of Health will shortly be writing to Task Forces to invite them to submit their recommendations for funding of drugs initiatives in 2017. It is a matter for Task Forces to ensure that their budget is effectively deployed to address current priorities and locally identified needs.

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