Origin of Tallaght Local Drugs Task Force (TDTF)
The Tallaght Drugs Task Force (TDTF) is one of 14 Local Drugs Task Forces which were set up in 1997 in areas experiencing high levels of drug misuse. Like other Task Forces, TDTF comprises a partnership between local statutory, voluntary and community sectors. Their role is to prepare and oversee the implementation of the Government’s national drugs strategy at a local level by encouraging co-ordination and co-operation between services and by consulting with local communities to design and deliver services.
The interim National Drugs Strategy (2009 – 2016)
The new interim National Drugs Strategy was published in September, 2009. Its key features are as follows:
- Continue to tackle the harm caused to individuals and society by the misuse of drugs through a concerted focus on the five pillars of supply reduction, prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and research.
- The strategy for 2009 – 2016 considers alcohol misuse. By the end of 2010, a new strategy which combines drugs and alcohol will be published and known as the National Substance Misuse Strategy.
- The interim strategy recognises the changing nature of drug misuse in Ireland which shows two distinct trends. Opiate and other drug misuse is now prevalent in areas outside Dublin. There are increasing levels of non-opiate, polydrug use throughout Ireland.
- Implementation of the strategy will be the responsibility of the Office of the Minister for Drugs which will be supported by the National Advisory Committee on Drugs (NACD), Oversight Forum on Drugs, Statutory Agencies and Drugs Task Forces.
Strategic Aims of Tallaght Drugs Task Force, 2009 – 2013
TDTF’s strategic aims for 2009 – 2013 are based on four key themes: consolidation, capacity building, co-ordination and research. They are described in the TDTF Strategic Plan and summarised in the points below:
Pillar 1: Education and Prevention
- Consolidate and extend interventions aimed at engaging at risk young people in diversionary activities (TYS, Gardai diversionary projects, TPP, Barnardos, YPFSF funded services) and support new interventions.
- Continue to strengthen links with schools and the community through the School Completion Project.
- Conduct cross-task force research into the factors that affect young people’s susceptibility to substance misuse (drugs and alcohol) and how best to engage and retain young people in treatment.
- Continue to support quality assured policy development and procedures for working with young people.
- Continue to provide educational support (Education Bursary Fund, back-up support).
Pillar 2: Supply Reduction
- Hold a community information event to exchange information; network, and build on partnership working between Gardai, the community and drug-related services.
- Continue to strengthen relationships with Gardai representatives on the Task Force.
- Appoint designated Gardai for Task Force activities.
- Support, monitor and evaluate “Dial to Stop Drugs” campaign and raise awareness about the initiative.
Pillar 3: Treatment
- Continue to identify, monitor and develop appropriate responses to changing patterns of local drug misuse. Respond with increased flexibility of service provision that recognises that different types of drug misuse require different treatment responses.
- Develop case management including written and agreed information-sharing protocols.
- Strengthen pathways to progression, including referral procedures, client tracking mechanisms, and retention over 90 days***.
Pillar 4: Rehabilitation
- Explore Building on Progress best practice interventions adopted elsewhere (UK & Ireland) to provide employability support to recovering clients
Pillar 5: Family support
- Develop supportive outreach interventions to engage children and families of drug mis-users.
- Further explore strategies to respond to issues that impact on the lives of children and families of drug mis-users, including intimidation and intergenerational cycles of substance misuse.
- Develop strategic response to the needs of new communities, including needs analysis research, creation of networks, and capacity building. Draw on the experience of existing community development in Tallaght.
- Develop Tallaght-wide campaign to raise awareness to include dissemination of information; maintenance of web-based directory; creation of central information points, and streamlined referral pathways.
- Assess all protocols and procedures, and update as required.
- Implement regular monitoring and review procedures for all activities and interventions in receipt of interim funding via TDTF. Agree performance indicators and accountability structures.
- Further develop TDTF’s commitment to openness and shared learning.
- Complete action plans that respond to recommendations arising from the Howarth and Matrix self assessment and implement quality assurance for all services in receipt of LDTF funding. Monitor progress.