Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Ceisteanna (466)

John Curran

Ceist:

466. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Health his plans to increase the funding that is currently allocated to local and regional drug task forces; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37740/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

Drug and alcohol task forces play a key role in assessing the extent and nature of substance misuse in their areas, and in supporting community responses, as part of a coordinated approach involving all sectors at local and regional levels. Task forces were allocated in the region of €28 million in funding for 2019. 

In March 2019, I announced additional funding of €1 million for the implementation of the National Drugs Strategy; Reducing Harm, Supporting Recovery. The additional funding reflects the Government's commitment to implementing an integrated public health response to substance misuse. The funding will be provided on a recurring, multi-annual basis, and will support harm reduction responses to emerging trends in substance misuse, and improved services for at-risk groups.

Following consideration of the outcome of a consultation process with task forces and the HSE, I approved a three-strand funding model for this additional funding. Task forces were notified of this funding model on 18 May. 

Strand 1 involves the allocation of €20,000 to each task force in 2019, which includes €10,000 provided on a recurring annual basis. This additional funding can be used to enhance local drug and alcohol services. The funding has been transferred to the HSE for distribution to the task forces.

Strand 2 provides funding for 12  strategic health initiatives on a regional basis, for a total of €190,000 per initiative over three years.

Strand 3 will support a strategic initiative on drug-related violence and intimidation.

An assessment committee has recently concluded its work on reviewing the funding applications under strand 2. I have announced the results of this process today in a press release, which is available at the following link:

National Drugs Strategy

I look forward to working with task forces and community health organisations to achieve the maximum impact from these additional resources.