My Department's report to the Cabinet Committee on Social Inclusion in October 2006 focused, in particular, on developments in regard to the following five issues:
1.Cocaine Briefing Paper
I outlined the findings of the Cocaine Briefing Paper which was jointly prepared, at my request, by the National Advisory Committee on Drugs (NACD) and the National Drug Strategy Team (NDST). This Briefing Paper was subsequently published last month. It contains 13 recommendations which are being followed up with the appropriate Departments and Agencies and monitored through the Inter-departmental Group on Drugs (IDG), which I chair.
2.Research Outcome Study in Ireland (ROSIE)
The ROSIE study evaluated the effectiveness of the treatment of heroin users, the key finding of which is that treatment works. Specifically the study found:
significant reductions in heroin and other drug use;
27% abstinent from all drugs after 1-year;
extensive reductions in drug injecting;
improvements in physical and mental health;
extensive reductions in criminal activity; and
increased contact with health and social care services.
3.Working Group on Drugs Rehabilitation
I provided an update on the progress of the Working Group on Drugs Rehabilitation. Subsequently, the Cabinet Committee approved the Report of the Working Group and I envisage that it will be published in the coming weeks.
4.Progress on the Young Peoples Facilities and Services Fund (YPFSF)
This Fund is aimed at the young people who are most at risk and it provides facilities, programmes and activities that are designed to provide an alternative to the dangers of drug misuse. Through the Fund, young people are offered positive pursuits (including sports and various recreational activities) that increase the potential for healthy lifestyles. Investment in the Fund has increased substantially over the last five years.
5.Drug Prevalence Survey 2006/07
I up-dated the Cabinet Committee on the position with respect to the all-island Drug Prevalence Survey 2006/07 for which fieldwork had just been initiated at that time. This fieldwork is expected to be completed shortly, with a first report of prevalence figures and trends becoming available in the latter part of the year.
Finally, the Deputy should note that reports to the Cabinet Committee on Social Inclusion are not published.