Drug and Alcohol Task Forces play a key role in assessing the extent and nature of the drug problem in local communities. They ensure 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 and the HSE provide total annual funding of €28 million to task forces for local initiatives to tackle drug and alcohol use and misuse, in line with the National Drugs Strategy. Task forces use this funding to support over 280 community projects throughout the country.
In 2019, the Department provided additional funding of €1 million to support the implementation of the National Drugs Strategy. This funding is divided between core funding and funding for 14 strategic initiatives for three years.
The strategic initiatives reflect priorities agreed between the community health organisations and the task forces to ensure that resources are targeted at groups most in need.
Measuring the overall effectiveness of the response to the drug problem is an important objective of drug policy. Resources should be directed towards interventions and strategies which are most likely to lead to a reduction in problem substance use and an improvement in public health, safety and well-being.
The allocation of resources for task forces is decided on an annual basis as part of the Estimates process.
In line with the Programme for Government, I am examining how the Department of Health can continue to support task forces in identifying local need in communities and supporting targeting initiatives addressing drug and alcohol misuse.