The national drug strategy, Reducing Harm, Supporting Recovery, sets out government policy on drug and alcohol use for the period 2017 to 2025. The strategy provides an integrated public health approach to drug and alcohol use, focused on reducing the harms for individuals, families and communities and promoting rehabilitation and recovery. It contains 50 actions which are to be delivery over the period 2017-2020.
The strategy is a dynamic strategy, monitored through a national oversight structure, with representatives of all stakeholders. There is flexibility to introduce new measures in the second half of the strategy (2021-2025) to address issues which may emerge in the first four years.
As the national drugs strategy is at the mid-way point, the Department has commenced a review of progress on the actions contained in the strategy. The review will consider progress achieved to-date under the action plan, any new issues that have arisen including the impact of Covid-19. It will also reflect commitments in the Programme for Government as part of a health-led approach to drug use and misuse and the EU drugs strategy 2021-2025.
In addition, the review will be informed by a focussed policy assessment of expenditure on drugs and alcohol services being carried out by the Irish Government Economic and Evaluation Service (IGEES), new data on trends and indicators in drug and alcohol for 2019/2020, and the impact of Covid-19 on drug and alcohol services.
I am committed to working in partnership with all stakeholders on the mid-term review of the actions in the national drugs strategy. An update on progress on the review will be considered at the National Oversight Committee meeting at the end of this week. I will clarify the timeframe for finalising the review at this meeting.