Tuesday, 18 June 2019

Questions (489)

John Curran


489. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Health his plans to reintroduce the dial-to-stop drug dealing initiative in view of an increase in drug dealing, intimidation and violence; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25545/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Effective law enforcement and supply reduction strategies and actions to prevent, disrupt or otherwise reduce the availability of illicit drugs is an objective of the national drugs strategy, Reducing Harm, Supporting Recovery - a health led response to drug and alcohol use in Ireland 2017-2025.

The use of violence or the threat of violence to enforce debts related to drug use creates an atmosphere of fear and undermines the health and well-being of families affected and the wider community.

The National Drug-Related Intimidation Reporting Programme which was developed by the National Family Support Network and An Garda Síochána, provides a framework to allow reporting of an incident of intimidation to a nominated inspector. An Garda Síochána and the national family support network have concluded separate evaluations of the drug related intimidation reporting programme and jointly agreed a number of actions to strengthen its effectiveness.

The Dial to Stop Drug Dealing Campaign has been in operation since September 2008. The objective of the campaign is to provide people with a safe and confidential means to pass on information on drug dealing.

Following a review, it was decided to put in place a more cost effective approach to promoting the campaign and this initiative has been undertaken in partnership with Crimestoppers since 2012.

The Department of Health has made regular contributions, over the past number of years, to Crimestoppers towards the cost of funding such media campaigns.

I believe that drug-related intimidation is an issue which requires special attention. It presents a real threat to public safety. It is my priority to protect families and communities from intimidation because of drug use.