The National Drugs Strategy Team (NDST) was initiated in 1997 by the Irish Government in response to the high prevalence of illicit drug misuse in Ireland.
The NDST set up Local Drugs Task Forces (LDTF) in predominatly urban disadvantaged areas (Dublin, Bray & Cork) to address the issues of drug misuse on a local level. It was acknowledged that drug misuse was not contained in those areas where Local Drugs Task Forces operated and was, in fact a national issue. Hence, Regional Drugs Task Forces (RDTF) were initiated throughout Ireland.
The North Eastern Regional Drugs Task Force (NE-RDTF) was established in 2003 as one of the key recommendations from the National Drugs Strategy 2001-2008 and covers the geographic counties, Louth, Meath, Cavan & Monaghan.
Subsequent to this the National Drugs Strategy (interim) 2009-2016, was launched and since its inception it was decided by Government to develop a National Substance Misuse Strategy to incorporate both alcohol and drugs. The National Substance Misuse Strategy as recommended by the Steering Group in February 2012, focuses on alcohol in particular and if agreed will be taken in conjunction with the National Drugs Strategy 2009-2016 as the overall National Substance Misuse Strategy until the end of 2016.
In the meantime, the overall strategic objective of the interim strategy is, 'To continue to tackle the harm caused to individuals and society by the misuse of drugs through a concerted focus on the five pillars of supply reduction, education, treatment, rehabilitation and research.'
With the emphasis primarily on a partnership approach, the Task Force brings together community, voluntary and statutory representatives, to assist in implementing the strategic actions across five pillars to achieve the overall policy aims of the strategy at a regional level;
- To create a safer society through the reduction of the supply and availability of drugs for illicit use;
- To minimise problem drug use throughout society;
- To provide appropriate and timely substance treatment and rehabilitation services (including harm reduction services) tailored to individual needs;
- To ensure the availability of accurate, timeoly, relevant and comparable data on the extent and nature of problem substance use in Ireland; and
- To have in place an efficient and effective framework for implementing the National Substance Misuse Strategy 2009 - 2016.
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