A 50 point Action Plan to provide an integrated public health approach to drug and alcohol use from 2017 to 2020, and provides the scope to develop further actions between 2021 and 2025, has been launched by An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar and Health Minister, Simon Harris.
Reducing Harm, Supporting Recovery is focused on promoting healthier lifestyles within society.
Key actions of Reducing Harm, Supporting Recovery include:
- Introduction of a pilot supervised injecting facility in Dublin’s city centre.
- Establishment of a Working Group to examine alternative approaches to the possession for personal use of small quantities of illegal drugs.Funding for a programme to promote community awareness of alcohol-related harm.
A new targeted youth services scheme for young people at risk of substance misuse in socially and economically disadvantaged communities.
- Expansion of drug and alcohol addiction services, including residential services.
- Recruitment of four Clinical Nurse Specialists and two Young Persons Counsellors to complement HSE multi-disciplinary teams for under 18s.Recruitment of seven additional drug-liaison midwives to support pregnant women with alcohol dependency;
Establishment of a Working Group to explore ways of improving progression options for people exiting treatment, prison or community employment schemes, with a view to developing a new programme of supported care and employment.
The early Work Programme of the Standing Sub-Committee will focus on Drug-related Intimidation, pending the outcome of the respective evaluations of the Drug-related Intimidation Reporting Frameworks by An Garda Síochána and the National Family Support Network.
Speaking at the launch, Minister for Health Simon Harris said “In Ireland today it’s estimated that there are up to 1.35 million harmful drinkers, while one in four adults have tried an illegal drug at least once in their lifetime. It is clear that we need to act now to tackle the huge problem we have, as a country, with drug and alcohol use. If we are to reduce the dreadful harm caused and support recovery, then we must ensure that all of our efforts are person-centred and health-led. We must ensure that this ambitious new strategy is about action and delivery.
Minister of State for Health Promotion and the National Drugs Strategy, Catherine Byrne said “Ireland has a high level of alcohol consumption and many Irish people engage in harmful drinking patterns, which have significant health, social and economic costs. I welcome the fact that under this strategy, Drug and Alcohol Task Forces will be resourced to continue their work in raising awareness in communities of alcohol-related harm.”
Tthe full report is available to download from the Department of Health’s website at www.health.gov.ie.