The Minister of State with responsibility for Public Health, Wellbeing and the National Drugs Strategy, Frank Feighan TD, announced the provision of €480,000 in once-off funding to support the restoration of drug and alcohol services during COVID-19.
The €480,000 will be made available to the network of 24 Drug and Alcohol Task Forces for distribution to community and voluntary drug and alcohol services in their areas. Each task force will receive up to €20,000 in once-off funding to meet COVID-19 related costs.
Making the announcement, Minister Feighan said
"A key priority for Government during COVID-19 is to protect, safeguard and support health, social care and other essential services. The safe resumption of community-based drug and alcohol services is a key component of this approach and as a result this has been a major aspect of my department’s work since the arrival of this pandemic to our shores. As Minister with responsibility for this area, I want to state that we fully recognise the vital role being played by drug and alcohol services across the country in reducing the harms of substance use and supporting rehabilitation and recovery.
"I also acknowledge the real and ongoing difficulties faced by drug and alcohol services in light of COVID-19, which has led to many new additional costs. From speaking directly with representatives of our drug and alcohol services since July, it is clear that the challenges they face are immense. As a result, I am pleased to announce today that my department is providing this new funding in order to support the restoration of these vital drug and alcohol services during COVID-19."
Under the scheme, task forces can apply to the HSE for up to €20,000 to cover the costs associated with the restoration of drug and alcohol services within their area including (a) development of ICT facilities (b) changes in layout of offices (c) additional training for staff (d) PPE and safety equipment (e) reconfiguration of services and other categories.
The funding is part of the Department of Health’s Framework for the Restoration of Drug and Alcohol Services, which it has developed in consultation with stakeholders.
Minister Feighan added: "It is important that drug and alcohol services are restored in a planned and appropriate manner in line with public health advice. I want to thank the working group of stakeholders for their contributions in developing the Framework for the Restoration of Drug and Alcohol services. I am aware that services have already adapted the COVID-19 return to work safety protocols and latest public health and safety advice. It is very important that staff and service users are protected from the ongoing threat of COVID-19."
Department of Health, 13/11/20