The provision of services to prevent and treat addiction to alcohol is the responsibility of the Health Service Executive and as such, I have referred this question to the Health Service Executive for attention and direct reply. If the Deputy has not received a reply from the HSE within 15 working days, please contact my Private Office who will follow up the matter with them.
As the Deputy may recall, on 3 February 2015, the Government approved the General Scheme of a Public Health (Alcohol) Bill. The aim is to reduce alcohol consumption to the OECD average by 2020 (i.e. 9.1 litres of pure alcohol per capita) and the harms caused by alcohol. The Bill is part of a suite of measures agreed by the Government in 2013 on foot of the recommendations in the Steering Group Report on a National Substance Misuse Strategy. The other measures (eg for the HSE, professional bodies etc) set out in the Steering Group Report on a National Substance Misuse Strategy, were endorsed by Government and are to be progressed by the relevant departments and organisations. The HSE has responsibility for implementing a number of recommendations and some of these measures are reflected in the HSE Service Plan for 2015. The remit of the Drugs Task Forces was extended to include the problem of alcohol misuse last year, in view of the key role they play in co-ordinating the response to substance misuse at local level.