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Press Release

Frank Feighan TD, Minister of State for Public Health, Wellbeing and the National Drugs Strategy today convened the first meeting of the oversight committee to drive the implementation of the national drugs strategy for 2021-2025.

Minister Feighan said:

“I recently announced six strategic priorities for the remaining four years of the strategy (2021-2025), as part of the mid-term review. These priorities will strengthen the health-led approach to drug use and align with the EU Drugs Strategy and Action Plan. I have created new working groups to drive the implementation of the priorities. These groups will strengthen the inter-agency partnership approach and widen the involvement of civil society in developing national policy.’

Minister Feighan welcomed the independent members of the oversight committee who will chair the working groups for each strategic priority. These are:

  • Dr Gerry McCarney, consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist with special interest in substance misuse
  • Pat Bennett, retired CEO Midlands Community Healthcare Organisation
  • Dr Fiona Fenton, consultant adult psychiatrist in national drug treatment centre
  • Ciaran Reid, CEO Louth Leader Partnership
  • Retired Judge Ann Ryan, drug treatment court
  • Dr Sarah Morton, director of the community partnership drugs programme, UCD

The Minister said

“I am providing independent leadership to ensure the accountability of all stakeholders. These independent chairs will bring impartiality, insight and experience in addressing the challenges of drug and alcohol use.’

The committee heard details of the additional funding of €6m for frontline drug and alcohol services in Budget 2022. Minister Feighan said:

‘I am prioritising two funding streams to start in early 2022: €1.5m to enhance community-based drug and alcohol services and €0.5m for a programme to strengthen harm response responses to cocaine, including crack cocaine. The funding will be distributed though CHOs and drug and alcohol task forces.’

The new oversight committee includes representatives of community and voluntary networks, drug and alcohol task forces, government departments, the HSE and the HRB. There are also an academic expert and a clinical expert on the committee. 

Read the full statement here

6th December 2021

Posted by on 12/06 at 02:55 PM in
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