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Midlands Drug Litter Initiative Launched

An information leaflet, "A Helpful Best Practice Guide for Drug Litter Disposal", was officially launched as part of a public information campaign by Minister of State for Health Promotion and the National Drugs Strategy, Catherine Byrne, TD in the Shamrock Lodge Hotel, Athlone on Wednesday 4 December 2019 at 9.30am

This information campaign was launched in response to concerns received by the Midland Regional Drug and Alcohol Task Force (MRDATF) and HSE Community, Alcohol and Drug Service (CADS) from the community, voluntary, and statutory sectors over incidences of discarded drug litter in areas across the Midlands region.

The development of an inter-agency protocol and the production of the information leaflet is a result of a co-ordinated response from a working group comprised of representation from the MRDATF, HSE CADS, An Garda Síochána, the County Councils in Westmeath, Longford, Laois and Offaly, and Merchants Quay Ireland.

Chairperson of the MRDATF, Joe Potter, stated:

“No one agency can deal with the many different aspects of substance misuse and it is only by working in partnership with other agencies can we maximise the effectiveness of our interventions. In this regard all sectors involved should be commended for this initiative and its multi-agency approach.”

Launching the Midlands Drug Litter Initiative, the Minister of State for Health Promotion and the National Drugs Strategy, Catherine Byrne TD, said:

“I want to commend the Midlands Drug Litter Committee for their work in developing this excellent new initiative which provides key information about drug litter and how to ensure safe disposal of items which can pose a public health risk. I am glad to see that the initiative also promotes local drug and alcohol services and supports which is very important in terms of harm reduction for those who are affected by drug and alcohol misuse. The commitment to this project by all local partners and agencies, under the leadership of the Midland Regional Drug and Alcohol Task Force and HSE CADS, is a great example of the partnership approach between the statutory and community and voluntary sectors which underpins our National Drugs Strategy, ‘Reducing Harm, Supporting Recovery’."

The information leaflet, which will be distributed widely across the Midlands region, gives the County Council number to contact to report incidents of drug related litter. It also provides a list of the drug and alcohol services and supports available across the Midlands region. Listed also on the leaflet is an online link to drugs.ie, for information on types of drug related litter and detail in relation to safe disposal.

The working group that developed this initiative will continue to meet in 2020 to review the implementation of the protocol to include the roll out of the public awareness campaign.

Speaking at the launch, Pat Bennett, Chief Officer, Midlands Louth Meath Community Health Organisation said:

“Drug-related litter is a public hazard and should be disposed of with care. No one agency has sole responsibility for dealing with the issue of discarded drug related litter and waste and I am delighted that the Midland Regional Drug & Alcohol Task Force and HSE CADS along with Local Authorities, An Garda Síochána and Merchant Quay Ireland have devised a workable and cost effective approach to deal with the issue. I commend this multi-agency approach to raising public awareness of the problem and managing the problem of discarded drug litter in the Midlands area.”

Please report any type of drug litter in Westmeath to 1800 819 000 (including out of hours).

Further information:

Drug Litter Disposal Booklet

Drugs.ie Drug and Alcohol Information and Support

Health Service Executive

Midland Regional Drug and Alcohol Task Force

Content Last Updated/Reviewed: 10/12/2019