The South Western Regional Drug & Alcohol Task Force has been established to address the drugs issue in the former South Western Area Health Board region. The Regional Drug & Alcohol Task Force has been charged with developing a strategy that will address the issue of alcohol & drug misuse across a region that has a population of over 500,000 people and includes the urban areas of South and West Dublin, the commuter towns of Kildare and West Wicklow and a large swathe of Counties Kildare and West Wicklow. This has been a challenging task to which the members of the Regional Drug & Alcohol Task Force have responded. They have worked hard and developed a strategic plan which will play a key role in dealing with substance misuse in the region.
The damage caused by alcohol/drugs and their misuse to individuals, families and communities has been well documented. The Regional Drug & Alcohol Task Force represents a partnership approach between the community, voluntary and statutory sectors in addressing the multifaceted issues related to substance misuse. It is the believe of the Task Force that it is only through this type of joint working that an issue as sensitive and complex as alcohol & drug misuse can be addressed. It is essential that young people receive the appropriate education to prevent them becoming involved in substance misuse and that those who have become enmeshed in substances have access to appropriate treatment, rehabilitation options as well as the appropriate supports for the affected families and indeed communities. It is also essential that the supply of drugs is reduced and where possible eliminated and that the supply of alcohol is in line with the relevant legislation. Lastly, research can inform us on the nature and extent of the problem and how best to tackle it.
Tackling substance misuse also requires that we tackle the social problems that contribute to it. This requires that all the citizens of the country work together to make a better life for all. The task force strategic plan and the partnership model utilised in its development demonstrate the power of joint working between the community, voluntary and statutory sectors.