Press Release

Minister Byrne opens National Forum on promoting best practice in drug and alcohol addiction services

This morning (Monday) the Minister for Health Promotion and the National Drugs Strategy, Catherine Byrne TD opened the first National Drugs Forum in the Aviva Stadium.

The purpose of this forum is to provide an opportunity for those working in addiction services, Task Forces and other organisations to inform colleagues about their work, to exchange knowledge around what works, and to identify information gaps. Over 230 delegates are participating in the forum, representing drug and alcohol service providers in the community, voluntary and statutory sectors, as well as policymakers and representatives from Government departments. The theme of this year’s forum is ‘Working better together by building communities of practice’.

Minister Byrne said: “I am delighted to be opening this forum on promoting best practice in drug and alcohol services. Implementing the actions from the National Drugs Strategy requires collaboration, and communities of practice are a great example of this partnership approach. Delegates here today will have the opportunity to share experiences and work together to shape policy going forward. I am looking forward to a very engaging forum, hearing from local and international experts, and listening to those who work on the frontline in our communities.”

Dr Darrin Morrissey, CEO of the Health Research Board, who will give the opening address at the event, said: “The HRB is committed to supporting the use of evidence in drug and alcohol work and promoting good practice. Today’s forum will help to strengthen the capacity of existing communities of practice and generate ideas for new networks and collaborative working opportunities across statutory, community and voluntary sectors.”

Keynote addresses will be given by Dr Karen Minyard and Dr Brigitte Manteuffel from Georgia Health Policy Centre on communities of practice, and Professor Harry Sumnall from Liverpool John Moores University on evidence of effectiveness. There are presentations from community, voluntary and statutory agencies that work in the drugs and alcohol arena. These relate to 4 key themes:

• Supporting prevention work in the community
• Dual diagnosis: using partnership and peer support as resources in treatment
• The role of social reintegration in recovery
• Harm reduction services: engaging with people who use drugs

The objectives and actions of the National Drugs Strategy, ‘Reducing Harm, Supporting Recovery’, are underpinned by the values of equity and partnership and a commitment to an evidence-informed approach. The involvement of communities in the response to problem drug use is key to realising the strategy’s aims. The National Drugs Forum is an action in ‘Reducing Harm, Supporting Recovery’ and today’s event is organised by the Health Research Board in partnership with the Drugs Policy Unit of the Department of Health with support from the HSE.

ENDS

Notes to the Editor
The forum takes place in the Aviva Stadium on Monday 12th November from 9:30am until 4pm and the programme is available on our website.

More information is available from the HRB press office on 087 2288514 or the Department of Health press office on 087 2136313