Dáil Éireann - Volume 654 - 15 May, 2008
Written Answers. - National Drugs Strategy.
Deputy Michael Creed Deputy Michael Creed
Deputy Michael Creed asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the recommendations of the Report of the Working Group on Drugs Rehabilitation 2007 that have been implemented; if he envisages that rehabilitation services currently available are sufficiently addressing the needs of drug users; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18955/08]
Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív
Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív: The Report of the Working Group on Drugs Rehabilitation, published in May 2007, made a series of recommendations for the development of a comprehensive rehabilitation pillar under the National Drugs Strategy. The Programme for Government also contains a commitment to implement these recommendations.
I can assure the Deputy that I will be working to ensure that the recommendations of the Report are implemented. Indeed, I understand that my colleague Pat Carey T.D., Minister Of State met with the Minister for Health & Children, Mary Harney T.D., twice this year to pursue this matter. In this context, the Deputy should note that the HSE are taking the lead role on rehabilitation and I understand that the post of Senior Rehabilitation Co-ordinator is to be advertised shortly and that it will be filled by September. It is also proposed that the National Drugs Rehabilitation Implementation Committee, the establishment of which was recommended in the Report, will be in place for September to dovetail with the appointment of the Senior Rehabilitation Co-ordinator, who will chair it.
Overall progress on the implementation of the Report of the Working Group on Drugs Rehabilitation is also monitored through the Inter-departmental Group on Drugs (IDG). The following are among the recommendations on rehabilitation that are being progressed:
 steps are being taken to increase the numbers on drug-specific Community Employment Schemes from 1,000 to 1,300;
the Dept of Education & Science is developing proposals for an Education Fund for drugs rehabilitation;
the Dept of the Environment, Heritage & Local Government is establishing a Working Group to progress the recommendations in regard to accommodation issues for drug misusers;
the Irish Prison Service is working to improve the operation of the Local Prisons Liaison Groups and to ensure a continuum of care for problem drug users when they leave prison; and
various research options are being considered.
In addition, my Department has provided increased funding to the Family Support Network that will help to support the role of families in the rehabilitation process.
Furthermore, it should be noted that additional funding of €12.5m was secured for the drugs area of my Department in 2008 and part of this is being used for rehabilitation initiatives. In particular, funding of €0.75m is being provided to support the development of rehabilitation initiatives through the Drugs Task Forces, building on the recommendations of the Report of the Working Group on Drugs Rehabilitation. These initiatives will assist drug users to regain the capacity for daily life from the impact of their drug use.
Overall, I am confident that progress will be made on the implementation of the recommendations of the Working Group on Drugs Rehabilitation in the short-term and I look forward to the benefits that this will bring to recovering drug users.
Dáil Éireann 654 Written Answers. National Drugs Strategy.