I propose to take Questions Nos. 365 and 366 together.
Local and regional drug and alcohol task forces play a key role in assessing the extent and nature of the drug problem and in initiating appropriate responses in their localities, so that there is a coordinated approach involving all sectors to the problem of substance misuse.
Section 2 of the task force handbook sets our the membership of task forces, to include representatives from the local community, voluntary service providers and relevant statutory bodies. Typically, task forces comprise representatives from the following organisations:
- An Garda Síochána;
- Probation and Welfare Service;
- Education and Training Boards;
- Local Authorities;
- Youth Services;
- Department of Social Protection;
- Service users;
- Local communities;
- Local community development committees;
- Local development companies;
- public representatives; and
- Voluntary sector
The Department of Health is not a member of the task forces as it is a government department and is not involved in service delivery. Rather, the Health Service Executive is responsible for the delivery of health services and is therefore the appropriate representative from the public health sector on the task forces.
I have asked the HSE to reply directly to the Deputy in relation to its representation on Drug and Alcohol Task Forces and the number of meetings that it participated in.