In November 1996, the Cork Local Drugs Task Force was formed and its brief was to develop a strategic, locally-based response to the drugs problem in Cork. Drugs Task Forces, both Local (14) and Regional (10), were developed to combat the threat from problem drug use throughout the country through the use of an area-based partnership approach between the statutory, voluntary & community sectors including public representatives. The structure is intended to facilitate the development of effective, targeted, local responses through the utilisation of the knowledge and experience of all sectors in designing and delivering those services and through facilitating the improved co-ordination of service provision. All are guided under the overall objectives of the National Drugs Strategy 2009-2016 which 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 supply reduction, prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and research
Local Drugs Task Forces were set up in Dublin and Cork City to ensure a fully integrated response to the drug problem in the worst hit areas, taking in to account the specific needs of those areas. Of equal importance, the establishment of Task Force process allowed local communities, the people most affected by the problem, to work with the State Agencies and Voluntary Organisations in designing and delivering that response.
Since their inception in 1996, the Task Forces have achieved a significant number of successes, not least in reducing the feelings of isolation and frustration previously experienced by many community and voluntary organisations working at the coalface of the drug problem. These organisations now feel that they are part of a co-ordinated and effective response to drug misuse in their areas.
In 1998 LTDFs prepared their first action plans which included a range of measures in relation to treatment, rehabilitation, education, prevention and curbing local supply. The focus of these plans was the development of Community Based Initiatives to link in with or add value to programmes and existing services already being delivered by statutory agencies in these areas.
As of 2014 the Drugs Task Force is also responsible for reducing the harm associated with alcohol thus becoming The Cork Local Drug & Alcohol Task Force. This is a huge additional brief to take on in the face of numerous years of budget reductions. However the Cork Local Drug & Alcohol Task Force is fully committed to making an impact on this most prevalent issue across our city.