,Limerick East): On 20 February 1996, the Government made decisions on a range of measures designed to reduce the demand for drugs. Provision was made in these decisions for the development, by the Eastern Health Board, of proposals for additional services to deal with waiting lists for such services in the Dublin area. The board has submitted a comprehensive and detailed implementation plan for 1996 which aims, through a variety of initiatives, to increase the numbers receiving treatment for drug misuse to 2,500 by the end of the year. This represents almost a doubling of the existing programme. Work has already commenced on the implementation of the plan and additional funds are being provided by the Department to ensure that it will be properly resourced. The achievement of the aims set out in the plan is a top priority for the board, my Department and the Government, as part of its commitment to tackle all aspects of the problems arising from drug misuse.
The plan incorporates initiatives under a range of headings, including GP prescribing; establishment of additional treatment centres; introduction of a seven day dispensing service in community drug centres; increased rehabilitation; extension of out-patient detoxification through community drug centres and local general practitioners.
If the Deputy would like to receive more detail regarding the board's plan, perhaps he would let me know and I will arrange to have the information forwarded to him.