As the Deputy is aware, my Department has overall responsibility for co-ordinating the implementation of the national drugs strategy 2001-2008. The strategy aims to tackle the drug problem in the most comprehensive way ever undertaken in this country and contains 100 individual actions, under the four pillars of supply reduction, prevention, treatment and research, to be implemented by a range of Departments and agencies.
My Department also has responsibility for the work of the local drugs task forces which were established in 1997 in the areas experiencing the worst levels of drug misuse. Currently, there are 14 local drugs task forces – 12 in Dublin, one in Cork, and one in Bray, which was designated an LDTF area in 2000.
The role of the LDTFs is to prepare local action plans after an assessment of the extent of use in the local area and the service gaps that need to be filled. The plans include a range of measures in relation to treatment, rehabilitation, education, prevention and curbing local supply. In addition, the LDTFs provide a mechanism for the co-ordination of services in these areas, while at the same time allowing local communities and voluntary organisations to participate in the planning, design and delivery of those services. They are designed to complement and add value to the extensive range of interventions being delivered through the State agencies.
All the LDTFs, with the exception of Bray, are currently implementing their second round of action plans and, to date, over €14.5 million has been allocated. In total, the Government has allocated over €51 million to implement the projects contained in the plans of the task forces since 1997.