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Policy Information

Drugs and Alcohol Policy

Published: 25 July 2019
From: Department of Health


Government policy on drug and alcohol use is set out in the national drugs strategy, Reducing Harm, Supporting Recovery 2017 – 2025. The foundation for the strategy is the Healthy Ireland Framework.

The strategy aims to promote healthier lifestyles within society and encourage people to make healthier choices around drug and alcohol use.

Drugs Policy

Five strategic goals have been identified under the strategy:

  • promote and protect health and wellbeing
  • minimise the harms caused by the use and misuse of substances and promote rehabilitation and recovery
  • address the harms of drug markets and reduce access to drugs for harmful use
  • support participation of individuals, families and communities
  • develop sound and comprehensive evidence-informed policies and actions

The strategy contains a 50 point Action Plan from 2017 to 2020. It provides the scope to develop further actions between 2021 and 2025.

A National Oversight Committee, chaired by the Minister with responsibility for the national drugs strategy, meets quarterly to support implementation of the strategy.

A Standing Sub-Committee of the National Oversight Committee drives implementation of the strategy and promotes co-ordination between national, local and regional levels.

Local and regional drug and alcohol task forces play a key role in assessing the extent and nature of the problem in their respective areas and co-ordinating action at local level.

Read more about addiction services.

Local and Regional Drug and Alcohol Task Forces

Local and regional drug and alcohol task forces implement the national drugs strategy in the context of the needs of their local area. The strategy is implemented through action plans which have identified existing and emerging gaps in:

  • supply reduction
  • prevention
  • treatment
  • rehabilitation
  • research

Drug and alcohol task forces comprise representatives from a range of relevant agencies, such as the HSE, the Gardaí, education and training boards, and local authorities, as well as elected public representatives and voluntary and community sector representatives.

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