Home > New funding for drug prevention in Ireland.

Dillon, Lucy (2022) New funding for drug prevention in Ireland. Drugnet Ireland, Issue 83, Winter 2022, p. 8.

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On 22 September 2022, the Department of Health launched its new Prevention and Education Funding Programme.1 As part of a wider suite of activities, the Department is undertaking to enhance the area of prevention and education. The fund aims to increase the focused delivery of prevention programmes, supported by the best possible evidence, among the school/university age population. The programme is designed to strengthen the prevention of drug, alcohol, and tobacco use and the associated harms among this cohort.


The new fund reflects an ongoing focus on prevention in Ireland’s national drugs strategy.2 Prevention has been a goal of the national drugs strategy since its inception in 2017. The mid-term review of the strategy, published in late 2021, identified six strategic priorities which aim to strengthen the implementation of the national drugs strategy for the period 2021–2025.3 They take account of the lessons and the stakeholder feedback from the mid-term review, as well as reflecting commitments in the Programme for Government.4 The first of the six strategic priorities focuses on prevention. It aims to strengthen the prevention of drug and alcohol use and the associated harms among children and young people. Given the strategy’s commitment to prevention programmes that are evidence-based, adhere to quality standards, and involve participants in programme design and implementation, activities under this strategic priority (including the new fund) are to adhere to international prevention standards, including those of the European Prevention Curriculum (EUPC) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)/World Health Organization (WHO).

Call for applications for funding

The Department has opened applications for funding under the new Prevention and Education Funding Programme. It is open to drug and alcohol taskforces, Health Service Executive (HSE) Community Healthcare Organisations (CHOs), the community and voluntary sector, and academic bodies. The programme will support up to five prevention initiatives, costing up to €100,000 a year for a period of three years. Initiatives are to be delivered at local level across Ireland. The funding is aimed specifically at introducing effective, evidence-based programmes, or building on current evidence-based initiatives already in Ireland within school, youth work or community-based settings.

There are five funding streams within the programme that reflect a range of delivery settings: school, general youth/community, family, higher education, and broader environmental prevention activities. The deadline for applications is 11 November 2022. More details of the funding streams and the application process can be found on the Department of Health’s website.1

1  For further information on the funding streams and application process of the Prevention and Education Funding Programme, visit:

2  Department of Health (2017) Reducing Harm, Supporting Recovery: a health-led response to drug and alcohol use in Ireland 2017–2025. Dublin: Department of Health. https://www.drugsandalcohol.ie/27603/

3  Drugs Policy and Social Inclusion Unit (2021) Mid-term review of the national drugs strategy, Reducing Harm, Supporting Recovery and strategic priorities 2021–2025. Dublin: Department of Health. https://www.drugsandalcohol.ie/35183/

4  Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, and the Green Party (2020) Programme for Government: our shared future. Dublin: Department of the Taoiseach. https://www.drugsandalcohol.ie/32212/

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