I am delighted to have secured additional funding of €0.485m in Budget 2020 for implementation of the national drugs strategy. The additional funding will establish a new health diversion programme for people using drugs, increase awareness of drug-related harms, improve access to HSE addiction services and support initiatives developed by Drug and Alcohol Task Forces.
€200,000 has been allocated to begin the phased implementation of the Government health diversion programme for people found in possession of drugs for personal use. The programme will provide a health screening and brief intervention known as SAOR to people who are referred to the health services by An Garda Síochána.
€100,000 will be allocated for an awareness campaign about the dangers of drug use, to target high-risk groups such as young people and festival goers.
€185,000 has been provided to expand services in maternity hospitals for pregnant and post-natal women affected by substance misuse, and their babies. This funding includes the recruitment of additional drug and alcohol liaison midwives.
Budget 2020 also provides for the continued funding of €1m for Drug and Alcohol Task Forces. Of this, €10,000 is being provided in core funding to each of the 24 Drug and Alcohol Task Forces. Funding of €60,000 is being provided for each of the 12 strategic health initiatives which reflect priorities agreed between Task Forces and CHOs. These initiatives target young people, women, families and services users, and homeless people and others with complex needs. It is envisaged a further initiative will be funded on drug-related intimidation.