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Home > Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 235 - National Drugs Strategy [7699/17].

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 235 - National Drugs Strategy [7699/17]. (16 Feb 2017)

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235. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Health if consideration has been given to drug checking services (details supplied); the amendments to existing legislation that would be necessary to enable a pilot of such a service; and his position on the matter [7699/17] 

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 Strategy is a cross cutting area of public policy and service delivery, which requires a coordinated response to tackling the drug problem, involving the statutory, community and voluntary sectors. 

The Government is committed to putting a new drugs strategy in place this year. A Steering Committee has been established to advise me on a new strategy with a view to developing an integrated public health approach to substance misuse, which is defined as the harmful or hazardous use of psychoactive substances, including alcohol and illegal drugs. 

While the format of the new Strategy has not yet been agreed by the Steering Committee, the Strategy will be based on a health-led approach to the drug problem and build on progress achieved under previous drug strategies. Significant progress has been made in developing the evidence-base for the new Strategy. This includes a review of systematic evidence reviews of various interventions to tackle the drug problem. The Steering Committee will consider the various issues highlighted in the evidence review, including harm reduction measures such as drug testing. The nature of such an initiative would require further investigation and elaboration. 

I understand that the Steering Committee is continuing with its deliberations and is expected to submit its final report to me by the end of March. I hope to be in a position to bring my proposals to Government on the new Strategy thereafter.

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