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National: New report on Irish town hit by an escalating drugs problem has made 73 recommendations

National: New report on Irish town hit by an escalating drugs problem has made 73 recommendations

A new report on community safety and wellbeing in an Irish town hit by an escalating drugs problem has made 73 recommendations in relation to short-term and long-term responses.

The report was commissioned by the Minister for Justice, Ms. Helen McEntee TD, in response to rising concerns regarding crime, and specifically drug-related crime, as well as feuding between organised crime groups in the Drogheda area. 

Jim Mullery, Chair of the North Eastern Regional Drug & Alcohol Task Force, said “This report provides a framework for action, recognising that problematic alcohol and other drug use is both a cause and consequence of so much community unease, and places our work in that broader social inclusion setting.

“As an inter-agency forum on drug and alcohol services under the national drugs strategy, the Task Force is well placed to lead on the report’s recommendations on improving inter-agency cooperation on service delivery and providing inter-agency training on drug-related intimidation. 

“With the support of the Gardaí and the Family Addiction Support Network, the Task Force hopes to re-start training in the Drug Related Intimidation Reporting Programme later this year. In the meantime, we are continuing to flag the availability of formal and informal supports to all statutory community-based services. We have also been in touch with local credit unions too, recognising that they may be a first contact for families in crisis.”

Welcoming the publication of the report, Frank Feighan TD, Minister of State for Public Health, Wellbeing and the National Drugs Strategy, said: “Drug activities are affecting individuals and communities in Drogheda and across the North East region, leading to ill-health, premature deaths, damaged family and social relations and drug-related violence and intimidation. These issues require a whole-of-government response, as set out in the National Drugs Strategy. Through the working together of all stakeholders, we can address the problems in Drogheda and the North East region.”

Commenting on the recommendations on drugs services in the report, Minister Feighan added: “I am committed to improving the availability of drug and alcohol services in Drogheda and the North East region of Louth, Meath, Cavan and Monaghan. As well as the allocation of €150,000 announced by Minister McEntee today for drug and alcohol services in Drogheda, the Department of Health and the HSE is providing a further €150,000 to support family support services and to improve access to community-based drug and alcohol services across the region."

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