The publication of the mid-term review of the national drugs strategy Reducing Harm, Supporting Recovery, by Frank Feighan TD, Minister of State for Public Health, Wellbeing and the National Drugs Strategy is a very welcome step.
The mid-term review of the strategy shows significant progress in implementing the action plan for the period 2017 to 2020, with only a small number of the 50 actions outstanding. The Government has improved access and availability of drug services, especially services for women, people who are homeless and those with heroin addiction. There is a new clinical programme for dual diagnosis and the Government is championing an alternative health-led approach for the possession of drugs for personal use. Further to this, the review also examined and how effective funding spent by Government on the national drugs strategy has been. It estimates the significant costs for society of drug use for the criminal justice system and the economy.
In addition to publishing the review, Minister Feighan also announced six key priorities to be undertaken during the remaining three years of the strategy, up to 2025. These priorities include:
- Strengthen the prevention of drug and alcohol use and the associated harms among children and young people.
- Enhance access to and delivery of drug and alcohol services in the community.
- Develop integrated care pathways for high-risk drug users to achieve better health outcomes.
- Address the social determinants and consequences of drug & alcohol use in disadvantaged communities.
- Promote alternatives to coercive sanctions for drugrelated offences.
- Strengthen evidence-informed and outcomes-focused practice, services, policies and strategy implementation.
To ensure that each of these key priorities are delivered upon between now and 2025, Minister Feighan secured €6m in funding through Budget 2022 to strengthen the health-led approach to drug and alcohol use, as set out in the Programme for Government.
Full details of the Mid-Term of the National Drugs Strategy and the priorities announced by the Minister in recent days are available at https://bit.ly/3kQJHpp.
Arbour Hill, Ballybough, Broadstone, Church Street, City Centre, Clonliffe Road, Constitution Hill, Drumcondra, East Wall, Fine Gael, Health, HSE, Infirmary Road, Markets, Montpelier, North Circular Road, North Strand, North Wall, Quays, Rathdown Road, Sean McDermott Street, Smithfield, Stoneybatter, Summerhill
Fine Gael Councillor - North Inner City
Chair, Urban Form & Planning Strategic Policy Committee