Tuesday, 17 November 2020

Questions (684)

Thomas Gould


684. Deputy Thomas Gould asked the Minister for Health the number of persons diverted after arrest for possession for personal use through the health diversion approach. [36225/20]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The Government is implementing a public health-led approach to drug use, known as the health diversion programme. This programme will connect people who use drugs with health services and a pathway to recovery, avoiding a criminal conviction, which can have far-reaching consequences for people, particularly younger people.

There are two components to the health diversion programme whereby a person in possession of drugs, determined by An Garda Síochána to be for personal use, on the first occasion would be referred by An Garda Síochána on a mandatory basis to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for a health screening and brief intervention. On the second occasion, An Garda Síochána would have discretion to issue an Adult Caution. 

An implementation, monitoring and evaluation group, chaired by the Department of Health, is implementing the health diversion programme. The Group is developing proposals to commence implementation of the programme on an administrative basis in a number of locations throughout the country in 2021.

As outlined in the Programme for Government, a review of the programme will take place following the first full year of implementation, to ensure that it is meeting all of its aims.

I am committed to a health-led approach for possession of drugs for personal use, and I look forward to the commencement of the health diversion programme in 2021.