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Home > Dail Eireann debate. Written answers 52 - National Drugs Strategy [22589/05].

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Written answers 52 - National Drugs Strategy [22589/05]. (29 Jun 2005)

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52. Mr. Sherlock asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs his views on the finalised mid-term review of the national drugs strategy; the amendments and additions that have been made to the existing strategy; his further views on the creation of a new fifth pillar of the strategy to include rehabilitation. [22589/05]

Minister of State at the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs (Mr. N. Ahern): The report of the steering group on the mid-term review of the national drugs strategy was published in early June. The report was the culmination of the mid-term review, a comprehensive review process which was launched last year and included an extensive public consultation. The review was overseen by a steering group, chaired by my Department, and made up of the relevant Departments and agencies as well as the community and voluntary sectors. The steering group was also assisted by external consultants.

The review sought to assess the impact and direction of the strategy at this mid-point stage and, in this regard, the group concentrated on identifying adjustments to the existing strategy and highlighting priorities for the remaining period up to 2008. The steering group found that the current aims and objectives of the strategy are fundamentally sound. The review found that there are encouraging signs of progress since 2001 when the strategy was first launched, which suggests that the current approach to tackling the drugs problem is proving to be effective. At the same time, however, the report highlights the need to re-focus priorities and accelerate the roll out of some of the strategy’s actions and, in this context, a number of new actions and amendments have been identified.

These changes will, I believe, strengthen the strategy and enable it to better deliver its aims in the next two to three years. In overall terms, ten of the strategy’s existing actions are being replaced, a further seven of the existing actions are being amended and there are eight new actions which aim to address issues such as family support and rehabilitation. With regard to rehabilitation, this issue was identified by the steering group, and through the consultation process, as an area which needed to be developed. The steering group recommended that rehabilitation become the fifth pillar of the strategy and I strongly support this recommendation. To further this action, a working group is being set up to develop a policy for the provision of integrated rehabilitation services. This group will be chaired by my Department and will consist of representatives from all relevant Departments and agencies and the community and voluntary sectors. The group is scheduled to report by the end of the year on the appropriate policy and actions to be implemented and I look forward to the outcome of its deliberations.

Vol. 605 No. 4

Written Answers - National Drugs Strategy

Wednesday, 29 June 2005

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