Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Questions (201)

Niall Collins


201. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the concerns of drugs and alcohol task forces in respect of the failures of his Department to grant additional funding to allow them deal effectively with the alcohol remit; if his attention has been further drawn to the importance of this issue; his plans to respond to same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12543/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The Department of Health allocated funding of almost €100m to the HSE for addiction services in 2019. The HSE National Service Plan 2019 sets out the type and volume of addiction services to be provided, having regard to the funding allocated.

In addition, the Department provides a further €28m to Drug and Alcohol Task Forces through various channels of funding, including the HSE.

Measuring the overall effectiveness of the response to the drug problem is an important objective of government policy. To this end, the national drugs strategy commits to operationalising a performance measurement system of Drug and Alcohol Task Forces by 2020.

Last week I announced additional funding of €1 million for implementation of the National Drugs Strategy.

The funding, which will be provided on a recurring, multi-annual basis, will address the priorities set down in the Strategy including early harm reduction responses, emerging trends in substance misuse (including polydrug use and crack cocaine), and improving services for at-risk groups.

The funding will complement enhancements in drug and alcohol treatment services relating to mental health and homelessness under the 2019 HSE National Service Plan.

Working in partnership with statutory, community and voluntary sectors is central to this response. I will be consulting with the Drug and Alcohol Task Forces and the HSE on how best to target this new funding. I have issued an invitation to the Task Forces to a meeting in the Department of Health at the end March to begin this process.