Dáil Éireann - Volume 554 - 09 October, 2002
Written Answers. - Drug Treatment Services.
Mr. F. McGrath Mr. F. McGrath
1620. Mr. F. McGrath asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs if he will support the Dublin City Wide Drug Crisis Campaign in its efforts on the drugs issue; and if he will support its five point plan. [16277/02]
Minister of State at the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs (Mr. N. Ahern)
Minister of State at the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs (Mr. N. Ahern): As the Deputy is aware, my Department has overall responsibility for co-ordinating the implementation of the National Drugs Strategy  2001-2008. The strategy is an eight year policy framework that brings together all the elements of drugs policy in Ireland. It contains 100 separate actions with responsibility assigned to various Departments and agencies to implement these actions.
I am aware of the issues highlighted by the Dublin City Wide Drugs Crisis Campaign and I recently met its representatives. All the issues which it raised can be looked at in the context of the strategy.
I am informed by the Department of Health and Children that health boards have received significant additional funding for drug treatment and rehabilitation services in recent years. In 2002 the Eastern Regional Health Authority received an additional €5.378 million to assist the implementation of actions contained in the strategy.
In 2003, as with other years, all Departments will seek the resources necessary to implement the relevant actions in the strategy through the annual Estimates process.
In regard to Dublin City Wide's queries about treatment services for cocaine, the ERHA has reported that its services are beginning to notice an increase in those presenting with problems related to cocaine use. Services for cocaine users primarily involve counselling. Additional counsellors and outreach workers have been recruited by the three area health boards of the ERHA in the past number of years.
In addition, a pilot programme in relation to cocaine use is due to commence in the city clinic located in the Northern Area Health Board region later this month. It will address all issues pertaining to cocaine use and will be led by a counselling team with participation of all disciplines including a doctor, nurse, psychiatrist and outreach worker.
The course will run for eight weeks and will then be reviewed. It is envisaged that if the review is successful the course will run at regular intervals throughout the NAHB area.
In relation to the regional drugs task forces, nominations are currently being sought from the various sectors. The national drugs strategy team has also prepared guidelines which have been disseminated to the various sectors and agencies for observations and agreement. Decisions on budgets will be taken once the task forces are formally established.
The Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform has already dealt with the general issue raised in redirecting value of assets seized by the Criminal Assets Bureau back directly into the community in his written answer to another question tabled by the Deputy for today, Parliamentary Question No. 1331, reference No. 15483/02.
Dáil Éireann 554 Written Answers. Drug Treatment Services.