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Home > Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 238 - Local Drugs Task Forces funding [23894/17] [Funding].

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 238 - Local Drugs Task Forces funding [23894/17] [Funding]. (18 May 2017)


238. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Health the reason the funding allocation for drug task forces has remained at the same reduced level for the past four years in view of an ever increasing demand for these services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23894/17]


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. In the 2017 budget, an additional €3m has been provided for a number of measures aimed at improving the health outcomes of those affected by addiction issues. The increased funding will support the development of a pilot supervised injection facility in Dublin city centre, the wider availability of alternative opiate substitution treatments for those who are not suited to methadone, improved services for under 18s and more detoxification beds.


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. Every effort has been made to protect the budgets of Drug and Alcohol Task Forces in recent years. In excess of €27.6m has been allocated to the Task Forces for community-based drugs initiatives this year, the same amount provided in 2014, 2015 and 2016.


The Department of Health has commissioned external consultants to develop a performance measurement framework to assist in measuring the effectiveness of Drug and Alcohol Task Forces. The framework will provide a mechanism to target funding allocations on the basis of objective criteria, having regard to the drugs situation in the Task Force catchment areas and other demographic factors. It will also inform the question of how best to align Drug and Alcohol Task Forces in order to address locally identified needs. I understand the findings of the consultants report have been considered by the steering group in the context of the development of the new National Drugs Strategy.


The funding available to address substance misuse will be kept under review in the context of the overall resources available to the health services and the most effective utilisation of those resources.

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