Background

The process for establishing a National Drug Strategy was commenced by the Irish Government in 1997, following the publication of the First Report of the Ministerial Task Force on Measures to Reduce the Demand for Drugs. The report highlighted the link between social deprivation and heroin-use problems, and identified geographic areas where these problems were concentrated, and where the  social and economic consequences of this concentration had far-reaching, negative effects on local communities. Local Drug Task Forces were established in these communities and at a national level a National Drug Stategy Team was also established, and a Junior Government Minister was assigned to the Strategy. The current Minister is Ms. Catherine Byrne, Minister of State at the Department of Health with responsibility for both Health Promotion and the National Drugs Strategy. In addition to the current Strategy Reducing Harm, Supporting Recovery, two previous Strategy Reports have been published, NDS, 2001-2008 and NDS, 2009-2016. During 2012, the Report of the Steering Group on the National Substance Misuse Strategy was also published, and arising from this report the Government, in October 2013, decided that alcohol would be included in the work and remit of local drug task forces; alcohol measures are now incorporated into the current Strategy.

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