Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Questions (52)

Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

52. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Health in respect of the national substance misuse strategy 2009-16 review published in March, if he will outline the policy level activities carried out in response to rising polydrug use here and the actions carried out so far under the research and information pillar, supply pillar and prevention pillar in respect of polydrug use; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21151/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I assume that the Deputy is referring to the National Drugs Strategy 2009-2016 Annual Progress Report for 2013, which was published on the Department of Health website on 26 March 2014.

Solid progress is being made across the 63 Actions of the Strategy, which are based around the five pillars of supply reduction, prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and research and a number of actions are completed and fully implemented. The annual progress report provides a detailed account of the policy level activities and actions carried out across the pillars of the Strategy.

Drug misuse continues to be one of the most significant challenges facing our country. It is highly destructive and has devastating effects on individuals, relationships, families, communities and society in general. In recent years, the nature and scale of the problem has changed, due to the increasing geographic dispersal of problem drug use, the increased prevalence of polydrug use, the increased strength of cannabis, and the emergence of new psychoactive substances. In consequence, the HSE has re-oriented their services in order to develop a comprehensive integrated addiction treatment service capable of dealing with all substances. In addition, the target of providing access to substance misuse treatment within one month of assessment is being largely achieved.

The Deputy may wish to note that the National Advisory Committee on Drugs and Alcohol will shortly be publishing the final bulletin arising from the Drugs use in Ireland and Northern Ireland 2010/2011 Drugs Prevalence Survey, which will focus on polydrug use.