As part of the National Drugs Strategy 2001-2008, ten regional drug task forces have been established throughout the country. The RDTFs are made up of nominees from State agencies working in the region, the community and voluntary sector and elected public representatives. It is intended that all the RDTFs will work in a partnership manner, similar to the local drugs task forces.
All RDTFs are currently 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.
This work will feed into the drafting of regional action plans, which will be assessed by the National Drugs Strategy Team and recommendations on funding will be made to the Cabinet Committee on Social Inclusion in due course. Given the experience of the local drugs task forces, this work is likely to take up most of the current year.
As regards funding for the RDTFs in 2004, a sum of €500,000 is being set aside in my Department's drugs subhead for administrative and technical assistance expenditure incurred by the RDTFs in the preparation of their plans. It is also worth noting that my colleague the Minister for Health and Children has previously, through the relevant health authority, allocated ongoing funding of €50,000 to each RDTF to cover administration costs.