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Dáil Éireann Debate, Friday - 3 December 2021

Friday, 3 December 2021

Questions (142)

Richard Bruton

Question:

142. Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Health the progress to date in implementing the strategies in relation to drug use and drug treatment outlined in the Programme for Government. [59427/21]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The Programme for Government: Our Shared Future, under the Mission: Universal Health Care, commits to a Health-led Approach to Drugs Misuse. Substance abuse and addiction affects people from all walks of life. By treating the use of substances as a public health issue, rather than solely as a criminal issue, we can better help individuals, their families, and the communities in which we all live. We are concerned about the increasing prevalence of illegal drug use over recent decades.

The National Drugs Strategy, Reducing Harm, Supporting Recovery 2017-2025, provides a roadmap to achieving these aims, by promoting a more compassionate approach to people who use drugs, with addiction treated first as a health issue.

The Department published the mid-term review of the national drugs strategy and the six strategic priorities for the remaining four years of the strategy, 2021-2025. The mid-term review of the strategy shows significant progress in implementing the action plan for the period 2017 to 2020, with only a small number of the 50 actions outstanding.

Main achievements are improved access & availability of drug services, especially services for women, people who are homeless & those with heroin addiction; a new clinical programme for dual diagnosis; and the development of a health-led approach to the possession of drugs for personal use.

The six strategic priorities will strengthen the health-led approach to drug use and align with the EU Drugs Strategy and Action Plan. An aim of the six strategic priorities is to capture the commitments under the Health-led Approach to Drugs Misuse.

Budget 2021 provided an allocation of €10m for new development relating to drugs policy and inclusion health. This funding included €4.1m for drug and alcohol services, €3.8m for the addiction and health needs of people who are homeless and €2.1m to enhance access to health services for other socially excluded groups. 

In Budget 2022, Minister Frank Feighan secured an additional €6m for new measures to support the implementation of the national drugs strategy, 'Reducing Harm Supporting Recovery'. This funding will be used to strengthen the health-led approach to drug and alcohol use, as set out in the

Programme for Government. 

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