Curran says alcohol to be included in new drugs strategy from next year


ALCOHOL will be included in a new drugs strategy next year, while the current strategy is expected to finally go to Cabinet by the end of May or early June this year, the Dáil has been told.

Minister of State for Community Affairs John Curran said the delay in publishing the strategy was because there was “much interest” in the relationship between alcohol and drugs.

In the autumn, “a new steering group will work to incorporate alcohol into what will be a substance misuse strategy but that will not be available until some time next year. There will be two steps to this,” he said.

During Dáil questions, Catherine Byrne (FG, Dublin South-Central) said it was “good news that we are finally to get a look at this wonderful document” but it was about time the new strategy was put in place.

“Unfortunately, however, the drugs problem is worse than it has ever been. You only have to look at the events at the weekend in Dolphin House in my area where there was a major incident involving thugs running rampant, vandalising more than 30 cars with paint and acid and terrifying people.”

Aengus Ó Snodaigh (SF, Dublin South-Central) questioned the decision to discontinue the national drugs strategy team (NDST) from today. Mr Curran said that proposals for a new dedicated ministerial drugs office would be submitted to Government in the context of the new strategy.

But Mr Ó Snodaigh asked “is there any logic to termination or fixing something which is not broken”.

Mr Curran said they were moving to a new structure to avoid duplication and so merge the NDST and the drugs strategy unit.

Jack Wall (Labour, Kildare South) expressed concern about the Licensed Vintners Association “which seems to be under so much pressure”.

Fine Gael spokesman Michael Ring said he was glad at the inclusion of alcohol in the drugs strategy because “it is the most disastrous drug in the country and it creates more problems for families and homes than any other drug”.