THE PARTNERSHIP APPROACH for the government’s National Drugs Strategy is “in danger of collapse”, former ministers and drugs campaigners have today warned.
The National Drugs Strategy was widely welcomed by community activists when it was first unveiled in 2017.
Two years later, however, each former drugs ministers since 1996 – when the original strategy was announced – are calling on the government to “restore confidence” in the plan, which they say has been undermined by the government’s “failure” to work with local Task Forces in tackling Ireland’s drugs problem.
The HSE, however, has said Minister Catherine Byrne and the Department of Health “are completely committed to community participation”.
Renamed ’Reducing Harm, Supporting Recovery — a health-led response to drug and alcohol use in Ireland 2017-2025′, the new strategy heralded a move away from a punishment approach to one of harm reduction and care and set out a pathway for local drugs Task Forces to play a key part in decision-making.
“[The strategy] recognises the importance of supporting the participation of communities in key decision-making structures, so that their experience and knowledge informs the development of solutions to solve problems related to substance misuse in their areas,” Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said at the time.
Source: Cónal Thomas, The Journal, 30th October 2019