The MRDATF is one of ten Regional Drugs Task Forces which was set up across the country in 2003, as a result of a key recommendation arising from the National Drug Strategy 2001-2008. Funded by the Department of Health, the MRDATF covers the catchment area of Longford, Westmeath, Laois and Offaly.
The role of the Task Force is to research, develop, implement and monitor a co-ordinated response to illicit drug use at regional level. The MRDATF has been given a key role by the Government in responding to the drug problem. Its composition reflects the need to ensure locally-based responses that compliment existing or planned drug programmes and services in the midland region.
Membership of the MRDATF reflects a four county interagency collaboration that includes representation from the Community Sector, Voluntary Sector, Statutory Agencies, Elected Representatives and Communities of Interest.
Terms of Reference of the MRDATF
- Creating and maintaining an up-to-date overview on the nature and extent of drug use and misuse and the services available in the Midland region through the gathering of all relevant information from the organisations and services involved.
- To strengthen and support a community based focus to drug and alcohol misuse, mobilising an integrated cross-sector response at local level.
- Providing for the implementation of a regional strategy in the context of the National Drugs Strategy 2009-2016 and the Combined Substance Misuse Strategy.
- Monitoring and evaluating the implementation of projects with a view to their continued funding though State Agencies in accordance with agreed procedures.
- To ensure appropriate representation by the statutory, voluntary and community sectors on the Task Force and ensuring the appropriate induction and training of Task Force members.
- Drugs Task Forces also have a role in informing national policy formulation.
- To develop networking arrangements for the exchange of information and experience with other Task Forces, as well as the dissemination of best practice.
- To take account of and contribute to other initiatives aimed at improving social inclusion and tackling disadvantage: Young People’s Facilities and Services Fund, Joint Policing Committees, Local Policing Fora, School Completion Programme, Revitalising Areas by Planning, Investment and Development (RAPID), Community Development Projects and Area Partnerships.
- To provide such information, reports and proposals to the Drugs Programme Unit as may be necessary from time to time
- To regularly review its own operation and performance to ensure its continued effectiveness in fulfilling its Terms of Reference.
National Drugs Strategy 2009 - 2016
The overall strategic objective of the National Drugs Strategy 2009-2016 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 the Interim National Drugs Strategy 2009 – 2016, Supply Reduction, Prevention, Treatment, Rehabilitation and Research.
Implementation of the actions will be a matter for the Departments and Agencies involved in the delivery of Drugs Policy. Their implementation will be overseen by the Drugs Programme Unit and Drugs Policy Unit in the Department of Health and supported by the Oversight Forum on Drugs.
Strategic aims of the Strategy:
- 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, timely, relevant and comparable data on the extent and nature of problem substance use in Ireland
- To have in place an efficient and effective framework for implementing the National Substance Misuse Strategy 2009-2016