Home > Dail Eireann debate. Topical issues - National drugs strategy budget.

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Topical issues - National drugs strategy budget. (22 Oct 2019)

External website: https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates/debate/dail/2...

Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: I wish to highlight the community sector's experience of the past two years of the new national drugs strategy, Reducing Harm, Supporting Recovery - A health-led response to drug and alcohol use in Ireland 2017-2025. Key policy decisions are not being brought for discussion and agreement to the national oversight committee or the standing sub-committee, as was supposed to happen, and are instead being largely made within the confines of the Department of Health and the HSE. This centralised decision-making has the knock-on effect of the drugs and alcohol task forces not being enabled or supported to carry out the role assigned to them in implementing the strategy at local and regional levels. The fact of the matter is that communities are being excluded from a role in key decision-making, breaking a key commitment given by the Government in the new strategy.


I acknowledge the work and commitment of CityWide, the community sector voice in this field across the greater Dublin region, and tell the Minister of State the actions that CityWide believes, based on its experience, need to be taken. First, the Department of the Taoiseach needs to take responsibility for oversight of the new strategy. Second, the Taoiseach should convene a national forum of all national drugs strategy stakeholders to set out clearly what is expected of them in their roles in implementing the strategy in line with the principles therein. Third, a community development plan should be put in place at the core of the national drugs strategy. My read of this situation is that the bottom line is that the drug and alcohol task forces must be allowed to do as the national drugs strategy promised, that is, co-ordinate an inter-agency approach to the implementation of the strategy in the context of the needs of their respective regions and areas.


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