What is a drugs task force?
Drugs task force
Have you ever heard the term ‘Drugs Task Force’ and wondered what exactly a Drugs Task Force is? Does the term ‘Drugs Task Force’ conjure up images of uniformed personnel marauding our streets, enforcing the law and punishing individuals for illicit drug activity?! Well if you did, the reality could not be further from the truth! If you are interested in finding out exactly what a Drugs Task Force actually does, read on ...
Together making a difference
Earlier this year, Dublin’s 'North Inner City Local Drug Task Force' (NICDTF) held a Conference & Projects' Exhibition, in Liberty Hall theatre, Dublin.
The event, entitled ‘Together making a Difference’, was a showcase of the work of projects funded through the NICDTF.
On the day, over 20 projects exhibited information about their work and achievements. In addition, small project groups and school classes were facilitated to view exhibits throughout the day.
This event proved an ideal opportunity for drugs.ie to present an overview of the diverse range of projects that a Local Drugs Task Force is involved in supporting / funding. To highlight this, we attended the event and spoke to some of those involved with the projects and services funded by the NICDTF. In this video, representatives from many of these projects and services provide a brief overview of the nature and scope of their individual services. To provide a backdrop in relation to the broad activities of the task forces, we first spoke with Mel MacGiobúin, NICDTF co-ordinator. During this interview Mel presents an insightful overview of the general activities and objectives of the task force.
Additional task force information
There are 10 regional and 14 local drugs task forces covering the Republic of Ireland.
The task forces were developed to combat the threat from problem drug use throughout the country through the use of an area-based partnership approach between the statutory, voluntary & community sectors including public representatives. The structure is intended to facilitate the development of effective, targeted, local responses through the utilisation of the knowledge and experience of all sectors in designing and delivering those services and through facilitating the improved co-ordination of service provision.
Aims and objectives
The overall aim of the Government’s drugs policy is to provide an effective, integrated response to the problems posed by drug and alcohol misuse. The strategic aims of the National Substance Misuse Strategy are:
- To create a safer society through the reduction of the supply and availability of drugs for illicit use;
- To minimise problem drug and alcohol use throughout society;
- To provide appropriate and timely substance treatment and rehabilitation services tailored to individual needs;
- To ensure the availability of accurate, timely, relevant and comparable data on the extent and nature of problem drug and alcohol use in Ireland; and
- To have in place an efficient and effective framework for implementing the National Substance Misuse Strategy.
Terms of reference
The original terms of reference of the drugs task forces required them to assess the extent and nature of the drug problem in their areas and to develop and monitor the implementation of action plans to respond to the problem as identified. The following are their revised terms of reference:
- To oversee and monitor the implementation of projects approved under the existing action plans;
- To ensure the formal evaluation of these projects with a view to mainstreaming and develop reporting relationships between the project, task force and mainstreaming agency in the event of mainstreaming;
In accordance with agreed guidelines to prepare action plans which:
- Update the area profile and take into account any changes in trends of drug use;
- Ensure that emerging strategic issues are identified and policies or actions are proposed to address them;
- Provide for the implementation of the National Substance Misuse Strategy in consultation with relevant state agencies, voluntary, community and residents groups.
- To ensure appropriate representation by the statutory, voluntary and community sectors on the task force;
- To identify any barriers to the efficient working of the task force;
- To develop networking arrangements for the exchange of information and experience with other task forces, as well as the dissemination of best practice;
- To identify the training needs of all task force members and take the necessary steps to meet such needs;
- To take account of and contribute to other initiatives aimed at improving social inclusion and tackling disadvantage: YPFSF, JPC, LPF, SCP, RAPID, CDP’s, Area Partnerships.
- To provide such information, reports and proposals to the Office of the Minister for drugs as may be necessary from time to time.
Relationship between task forces
DTFs are to work closely together to develop Cross Task Force initiatives, promote networking arrangements, exchange information and experience and facilitate the dissemination of good practice with each other and other relevant bodies.
Pending the review of Drug Task Force boundaries, Task Forces will continue to work within the following broad areas of responsibility:
The LDTFs will:
- continue to have the primary responsibility for the development and implementation of a local drugs strategy for their areas; and
- contribute to strategic planning, policy making and the development of services for the region as a whole.
The RDTFs will:
- co-ordinate the development of drug programmes and services in the non-LDTF parts of the region; and
- In conjunction with the LDTFs, co-ordinate strategic planning and policy making at regional level, including the development of services which might more effectively be delivered on a regional basis. These could include, for example, treatment referrals, services for travellers, homeless persons and sex workers involved in illicit drug use, training for drug workers, etc.
While Regional Drugs Task Forces operate from a wider geographic base than Local Drugs Task Forces, they follow the same principle operations. The Local Drug Task Forces were established to cover areas which statistically had higher rates of problematic drug use.