Drug and alcohol task forces play a key role in assessing the extent and nature of substance misuse in their areas, and in supporting community responses, as part of a coordinated approach involving all sectors at local and regional levels.
Task forces were allocated in the region of €28 million in funding for 2019. Tallaght Local Drug and Alcohol Task Force, which is responsible for the Dublin 24 area, was allocated €1,234,952 of this funding.
On 06 March 2019, I announced additional funding of €1 million for the implementation of the National Drugs Strategy; 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 early harm reduction responses, emerging trends in substance misuse, and improving services for at-risk groups.
Following consideration of the outcome of a consultation process with task forces and the HSE, I approved a three-strand funding model for this additional funding. Task forces were notified of this funding model on 18 May.
Strand 1 involves the allocation of €20,000 to each task force in 2019, which includes €10,000 provided on a recurring annual basis. This additional funding can be used to enhance local drug and alcohol services. The funding has been transferred to the HSE for distribution to the task forces.
Strand 2 provides funding for 12 strategic health initiatives on a regional basis, for a total of €190,000 over three years.
Strand 3 will support a strategic initiative on drug-related violence and intimidation.
The selection of the strategic initiatives will be based on a number of guiding principles, with a particular focus on actions which address emerging trends and patterns of drug use and improve drug and alcohol services for people with complex needs. An assessment committee is currently reviewing the applications and the results of this process will be announced shortly.
The additional funding reflects the Government's commitment to implementing an integrated public health response to substance misuse. I look forward to working in partnership with task forces, CHOs and other organisations to achieve the maximum impact from these resources.