Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Questions (668)

John Curran


668. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Health his strategy for the local and regional drug task forces to prevent more young persons entering a life of crime in view of the recent gangland killings in Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24136/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Government policy in relation to drug and alcohol misuse is set out in the national drugs strategy, Reducing Harm, Supporting Recovery, a health led response to drug and alcohol use in Ireland 2017-2025.

The Strategy represents a whole-of-government response to the problem of drug and alcohol use in Ireland. The strategy draws upon a range of government policy frameworks in order to reduce the risk factors for substance misuse. It also commits to address the harms of drug markets and reduce access to drugs for harmful use.

Drug and Alcohol Task Forces play a key role in assessing the extent and nature of the drug problem in local communities and in ensuring that a coordinated approach is taken across all sectors to address substance misuse based on the identified needs and priorities in their areas. They work in partnership with public bodies, service providers, the Gardaí and the local community.

The Department of Health provides in the region of €28 million to task forces annually.

In March 2019, I announced additional funding of €1 million for the implementation of Reducing Harm Supporting Recovery. This funding, which will be provided on a recurring, multi-annual basis, will address the priorities set down in the strategy including responses to emerging trends in substance misuse, and improving services for groups with complex needs.

I strongly support the efforts of the my colleague, the Minister for Justice, the Gardaí and other law enforcement authorities to prevent, disrupt and reduce the drug-related activities of criminal groups.