The Minister of State with responsibility for the National Drugs Strategy, Frank Feighan (small picture), has committed to working with the Department of Justice to implement the recommendations on drug services contained in a scoping report on community safety and wellbeing in Drogheda published last week.
The report was commissioned by Minister for Justice Helen McEntee in response to rising concerns about drug-related crime, as well as feuding between organised crime groups, in the Drogheda area.
The report makes 73 recommendations, which cover short-term and long-term responses to the challenges faced by communities in the area.
Minister Feighan said the Department of Health and the HSE were providing €150,000 to support and improve access to community-based drug and alcohol services across the region.
This is in addition to €150,000 announced by Minister McEntee for drug and alcohol services in Drogheda.
He acknowledged, however, that gaps in services remained, and added that the HSE was carrying out a review of statutory, voluntary and community drug services in the region.
The review was one of the recommendations of the scoping report.
Decision on court
The report also recommended the continuation of the local Drug Court, with appropriate funding. A decision on the court’s longer-term future will be made after an evaluation of its operation, which will take place after “one or two years”.
The report also called for urgent additional funding for the Red Door project, which provides confidential assistance and services to people affected by drug and alcohol use.
It also called for the full implementation of all appropriate harm-reduction measures, as mandated by the National Drugs Strategy, including Needle and Syringe Programmes (NSP) and Naloxone, in Drogheda.