Wednesday, 27 November 2019

Ceisteanna (140)

Gerry Adams


140. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Health the level of funding allocated to the north east drug task force in each of the past five years. [49240/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

Drug and alcohol task forces play a key role in assessing the extent and nature of the drug problem in local communities and in ensuring that a coordinated approach is taken across all sectors to address substance misuse based on the identified needs and priorities in their areas.

The Department of Health provides €28million per annum to drug and alcohol task forces through various channels of funding, including the HSE. This funding supports over 280 community projects prioritised by Drug Task Forces in local areas and communities throughout the country.

The North Eastern Regional Drug and Alcohol Task Force received almost €928k of this allocation in 2019. This amount has remained the same for the past five years. Task force funded community projects may also receive funding from other sources, including the HSE.

The Department of Health provided additional funding of €1m in 2019 to implement key actions in the national drugs strategy. From this funding, the Department provided the North Eastern Regional Drug and Alcohol Task Force with an additional €20,000 to support its work, €10,000 of which is recurring on annual basis. This funding can be used to enhance services and meet operating costs.

The Department of Health is also providing an additional €190,000 over a three-year period to the task force to establish a new strategic health initiative; Young People’s Substance Use Support Services in Cavan & Monaghan. This initiative will improve access to health services for young people whose lives are affected by problematic alcohol and substance use in the two counties.

The initiative reflects regional priorities agreed between the community health organisation and the task forces and ensure that resources are targeted at groups most in need. It will strengthen early harm reduction responses to current and emerging trends and improve access to services for people with complex needs.

I am committed to implementing an integrated public health response to substance misuse, and to supporting those people in our communities who are struggling with addiction and need intervention and support. The task force working in partnership with statutory, community and voluntary sectors is central to this response.

Question No. 141 answered with Question No. 137.