The Government is committed to a health-led approach to drug use and to developing harm reduction interventions for at risk groups, as set out in the national drugs strategy Reducing Harm, Supporting Recovery, a health-led response to drug and alcohol use in Ireland 2017-2020.
The Department of Health works with the HSE to raise awareness of the dangers associated with drugs through the Drugs.ie website. The site provides a comprehensive range of information and supports related to substance use. The site also houses the National Directory of Drug and Alcohol Services which allows the person to locate information, support or treatment in their own area.
In 2019, the HSE developed and promoted two national campaigns aimed at students and the festival goers, who may not present at traditional addiction services.
I, along with the Minister for Health and the Minister for Justice and Equality, recently announced the introduction of a health diversion programme for persons in possession of drugs for personal use. This is a hugely important step in developing a health-led approach and in delivering on a key commitment in the national drugs strategy.
However, we cannot be complacent about the dangers of drugs. Therefore, the Department of Health is providing funding of €100,000 to the HSE in 2020 to develop a national harm reduction campaign to raise awareness of the risks associated with drug use. This will include information about club drugs, festival drug use, newer drugs as well as cannabis.
I am strongly supportive of measures that will reduce harm for people who take drugs.