Wednesday, 4 February 2004

Ceisteanna (241)

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

333 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs his plans to assist communities in the fight against drugs in the greater Dublin area and throughout the country; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3415/04]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs)

My Department has overall responsibility for co-ordinating the implementation of the National Drugs Strategy 2001-2008. It also has responsibility for the work of the 14 local drugs task forces which were established in 1997 in the areas experiencing the worst levels of drug, particularly heroin, misuse. To date over €65 million has been allocated or spent on implementing the various projects contained in the two rounds of plans of the task forces; a further €11 million has been allocated to projects under the premises initiative which is designed to meet the accommodation needs of community-based drugs projects; and approximately €68 million has been allocated or spent under the first round of funding from the young people's facilities and services fund. Projects submitted under the second round plans are being assessed and I hope to be in a position to make allocations soon.

Under the National Drugs Strategy 2001-08, regional drugs task forces have been established in the ten health board regions throughout the country. The task forces are mapping out the patterns of drug misuse in their areas — as well as the range and level of existing services — with a view to better co-ordination and addressing gaps in the overall provision.