Home > Dail Eireann debates. Written answer 657- National Drugs Strategy implementation [15013/18].

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debates. Written answer 657- National Drugs Strategy implementation [15013/18]. (17 Apr 2018)

657. Deputy John Lahart asked the Minister for Health his views on the misuse of drugs within the Traveller community; the steps that have been taken to deal with this matter; the additional resources that have been invested in addressing the challenge; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15013/18]


Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Catherine Byrne): The national drug strategy, Reducing Harm, Supporting Recovery – a health-led response to drug and alcohol use in Ireland 2017-2025, recognises that drug and alcohol use is a complex issue requiring an inter-departmental response, focused on promoting healthier lifestyles within society.


The strategy recognises that poor living conditions and high levels of unemployment and educational disadvantage contribute to the higher risk of drug and alcohol misuse among the Travelling community. It includes specific actions to improve the capacity of services to address the needs of people who use drugs and alcohol from specific communities, including the Traveller community.


Good practice guidelines, developed by Pavee Point, provide useful and practical advice on supporting Travellers who need to use treatment services. The HSE recently established a pilot scheme to develop an information pack for early intervention for problem alcohol and drug use in the Traveller community which will be rolled out nationally once the pilot is complete.


In addition, the National Traveller and Roma Inclusion Strategy, published by the Department of Justice and Equality in 2017, includes health actions dealing with substance misuse in the Traveller community.


The Standing Sub-Committee of Reducing Harm, Supporting Recovery drives the implementation of the strategy and promotes coordination between national, local and regional levels. It plays a key role in ensuring that the statutory, community and voluntary sectors, Drug and Alcohol Task Forces and other key stakeholders are engaged in supporting the implementation of the strategy. A representative of the Traveller organisation, Pavee Point, is a member of the Standing Sub-Committee.


I am satisfied that the implementation of the national drugs strategy will address the specific needs of the Traveller community and I encourage Traveller organisations to work with the local drug and alcohol task forces and other agencies in achieving this objective.

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