Community drugs organisations have given a guarded welcome to funding commitments under Budget 2023.
However, they are still seeking confirmation from the Department of Health that a €3.5m provision in the National Drugs Strategy (NDS) budget will go to community drug projects.
CityWide Drugs Crisis Campaign, an umbrella group of community projects, has long lobbied for cuts made to funding over six years during the recession to be restored.
However, it has asked the department to clarify if that fund is specifically for community projects and that it will be funnelled through local drug taskforces, rather than through the HSE.
The minister of state with responsibility for the NDS, Frank Feighan, said he was providing €3.5m for community and voluntary providers “to maintain the existing level” of drug and alcohol services.
He said this was “the first allocation” to meet the cost of providing the existing level of services of recent years.
Mr Feighan said a total of €10.5m was secured for the NDS and inclusion health services and that €7m of this was for new developments, including €4m for the expansion of community and residential addiction services and €3m to improve access to healthcare services for socially-excluded groups.
He said €850,000 was provided to expand integrated care for high-risk users, with new residential addiction treatment services for women in Meath and Wicklow, and a community alcohol service in Mayo.
An additional €1m was earmarked for emerging drug trends and to expand community-based services, with €750,000 to mitigate the impact of drug and alcohol use on children and families.
Ms Quigley said CityWide’s “specific focus” for years has been on restoring funding, which was slashed during 2009 and 2014.
• Visit CityWide.ie to learn more about the CityWide Drugs Crisis Campaign.