Thursday, 5 December 2019

Questions (199)

Brendan Smith

Question:

199. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Health if additional funding will be allocated to the regional drug task forces in view of the fact there are particular difficulties for some services (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50856/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The National Drugs Strategy Reducing Harm, Supporting Recovery is a health-led response to the problem of drug and alcohol use in Ireland. The strategy is underpinned by a partnership approach between the statutory, non-statutory and community and voluntary sectors.

Drug and Alcohol Task Forces play a key role in assessing the extent and nature of the drug problem in local communities. They ensure that a coordinated approach is taken across all sectors to address substance misuse based on the identified needs and priorities in their areas.

Task Forces oversee an annual budget of €28m from the Department of Health and the HSE. This funding supports over 280 community projects, in local areas and communities throughout the country, to support initiatives to tackle drug and alcohol use and misuse.

Additional funding of €1m has been provided for the implementation of the National Drugs Strategy in 2019. €480,000 of this funding will provide an additional €20,000 for each of the 24 Task Forces, including the ten Regional Drug and Alcohol Task Forces. €10,000 of this funding will be on a permanent recurring basis.

A further allocation of €480,000 of this funding has been allocated in 2019 for twelve strategic health initiatives, as announced by me on 17 September 2019. A strategic initiative focusing on providing access to health services for young people whose lives are affected by problematic alcohol and substance use has been approved for funding in Cavan and Monaghan.

I would encourage the service referred to by the Deputy to engage with the Task force and the HSE to see how it can participate in this new initiative.

As the specific service referred to by the Deputy is funded by the HSE, I have referred the matter to them for attention and direct reply to the Deputy.