The Department of Health is seeking views of the public on alcohol and drug misuse and what can be done to address the issue.
As part of a pre-consultation exercise, the public are asked to submit their views which may help inform the detail of any future policy direction for reducing alcohol and drug related harm.
Speaking about the questionnaire, Richard Pengelly, Permanent Secretary said: “I want to start the conversation about what a new or improved substance strategy might look like. The pre-consultation exercise gives the public the opportunity to have their say on the vision, focus and priorities of a strategy and to directly inform future developments in policy and practice.
On the recent review of the current strategy, Mr Pengelly said: “The review pointed to some encouraging signs. There has been significant reductions in binge drinking and the number of young people who drink and get drunk. Drug misuse among young people has also fallen significantly. However substance misuse is still an ongoing problem which is reflected in the tragic alcohol and drug related deaths we are still seeing.”
In conclusion, the Chief Medical Officer for Northern Ireland, Dr Michael McBride, said: “The misuse of prescription medicines, and the high risk associated with polydrug misuse, which is using more than one drug – including alcohol – at the same time, is still having a huge impact on our society. We need to look for new and innovative ideas and we want to have a wider conversation about substance misuse in society. I therefore encourage everyone with an interest to have their say and help inform the future direction of any new substance misuse strategy for Northern Ireland.”
As well as the online consultation, the Department is hosting a series of pre-consultation events and one-to-one meetings. Further details on these will follow in due course.
Notes to editors:
- The questionnaire is available on the DoH website.
- The work to develop a successor strategy is being taken forward alongside a refresh of the Regional Commissioning Framework for Alcohol and Drug Services, to ensure this is fully aligned with the timeframe for the delivery of a future strategy.
- A review of the current strategy – the New Strategic Direction for Alcohol & Drugs Phase 2 (NSD Phase 2) was recently published online.
- NSD Phase 2 was launched in 2012 and is the Executive’s cross-departmental strategy for preventing and addressing the harm related to substance misuse in Northern Ireland.
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