Fianna Fáil TD for Dublin Mid-West, John Curran has said that the Government’s lack of regard for the important work carried out by Local Drug Task Forces in communities nationwide is deplorable given the scourge of problem drug use in recent years.
In new information obtained by the Deputy this month, the Minster for Health confirmed that the level of funding allocated to Drug and Alcohol Task Forces remains at 2014 levels. This is despite a marked increase in HSE budget.
While recently questioning the Taoiseach in Dáil Éireann on the issue, Deputy Curran said, “The Programme for Government very clearly indicates a commitment to support the expansion of local drug task force projects.
“There were reductions in funding for all local and regional drug and alcohol task forces between 2012 and 2014.
“The Department of Health and the HSE have had significant increases in their annual budgets in the years since but sadly, the Minister has made the decision to keep their budget at the 2014 amount.
“It certainly seems as though this Government does not deem these task forces a necessary component of the response required to support those living with problem drug and alcohol use in our communities.
“There is an overwhelming sense that the drugs crisis has slipped off the Government’s agenda and that a complete lack of political will has created a crisis in services on the ground, said Deputy Curran.
“Local, regional drug task forces cannot be expected to expand and deliver comprehensive targeted services to communities in the area of prevention, treatment and rehabilitation if they do not have the resources to do so.
“In order to implement the relevant services on the ground and in areas where drugs are causing harm to families and communities, their capacity must be strengthened with funding.
“If the Government is serious about tackling Ireland’s Drug Crisis it must restore an appropriate level of funding to the Local and Regional Task Forces that reflects the depth of the drugs crisis in Ireland,” concluded Deputy Curran.