Wednesday, 17 February 2021

Questions (652)

Alan Kelly


652. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Health his plans to increase the funding of a task force (details supplied); if he will provide a separate strand of funding to allow for it to carry out an updated community analysis to get a fuller picture of trends in the catchment area and adapt the necessary services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7918/21]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Drug and alcohol task forces have a key role in coordinating inter-agency action and supporting evidence-informed approaches to problem substance use. The network of 24 task forces receives €29 million in annual funding from the Department of Health and the HSE. These resources should be directed towards interventions and strategies which are most likely to reduce problem substance use and improve public health.

As committed by the Programme for Government, Budget 2021 allocated an additional €1m for targeted drug and alcohol initiatives through the network of drug and alcohol task forces.

The impact of problem drug and alcohol use is a national issue, affecting people from all walks of life. Accordingly, the Department is committed to a population-based approach to allocating resources for drug and alcohol services. This will ensure funding is allocated on an equitable and rational basis in accordance with health and social needs.

The allocation of the additional funding will also be informed by the priorities arising from the mid-term review of the national drugs strategy, which my Department is undertaking in conjunction with stakeholders.

I value the contribution of drug and alcohol task forces to tackling problem substance use and look forward to working with them to maximise the impact of the additional resources provided in Budget 2021.