The national drug strategy, Reducing Harm, Supporting Recovery, sets out government policy on drug and alcohol use until 2025. The strategy aims to provide an integrated public health approach to drug and alcohol use, focused on reducing the harms for individuals, families and communities and promoting rehabilitation and recovery.
The Programme for Government endorses the national drugs strategy as providing a roadmap to treating the use of substances as a public health issue and to promoting a compassionate approach to people who use drugs.
The strategy contains 50 actions for delivery between 2017 to 2020. The implementation of these actions is monitored though the national oversight structures, supported by the coordinated system of monitoring, research and evaluation set out in the strategy.
A progress report on the implementation of the actions was published for the period to end 2018 and a further report, to end 2019 is being finalised. As of 2018, four actions are complete, 35 are in progress and 11 are not yet started.
The Department is preparing to carry out a review of the actions of the strategy at the end of 2020, the third full year of the strategy. The review will reflect on progress in implementing the strategy, and provide the flexibility to introduce new measures to address emerging needs. The review will be overseen by the national oversight committee.
I believe that the mid-term review is a timely opportunity to take account of the commitments in the Programme for Government Our Shared Future, and to addresses the challenges from Covid-19 for drug and alcohol services. I look forward to working with the colleagues in Government and with stakeholders to complete the mid-term review.