Home > Dail Eireann debates. Written answer 429 - Drug and alcohol task forces [7239/18].

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debates. Written answer 429 - Drug and alcohol task forces [7239/18]. (13 Feb 2018)

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429. Deputy Micheál Martinasked the Minister for Health the status of the regional drug task forces; the involvement of the HSE on same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7239/18]


Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Catherine Byrne): There are 10 Regional Drug & Alcohol Task Forces in Ireland. They were set up in 2003 on foot of recommendations from the first National Drugs Strategy (2001-2008), to facilitate a more effective response to the drugs problems in areas experiencing the highest levels of substance misuse. Task Forces are partnerships between local statutory, voluntary and community sectors. Their current role is to prepare and oversee the implementation of Reducing Harm, Supporting Recovery 'A health-led response to drug and alcohol use in Ireland 2017 - 2025' at a local level by encouraging co-ordination and co-operation between services and by consulting with local communities to design and deliver services. The Task Force membership comprises elected representatives, representatives from the community and voluntary sector and relevant local statutory agencies including the Health Service Executive (HSE), Department of Social Protection, An Garda Síochána, Probation services, Education and Training Boards and the Local Authorities. Members meet on a regular basis.

The overall allocation to Regional Drug and Alcohol Task Forces for community-based drugs initiatives this year is €8.7 million. The HSE is responsible for the allocation and oversight of €7.6 million of this funding and the Department of Health is responsible for the remaining €1.1 million. It is a matter for each Task Force to ensure that the budget is effectively deployed to address current priorities and locally identified needs, taking into account the changing nature of the drugs phenomenon. Drug and Alcohol Task Force Coordinators are, in the main, employed by the HSE. The HSE allocates funding to the Regional Drug and Alcohol Task Forces for various support workers, such as posts of development worker and administrator.

I am committed to working with Local and Regional Drug and Alcohol Task Forces in implementing the actions under Reducing Harm, Supporting Recovery.

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