Details of a new National Drugs Strategy have been announced by Taoiseach Brian Cowen.

The document contains 63 proposals on how to combat drug addiction and reduce the availability of drugs.

Among the measures suggested are roadside drug testing and increased security procedures to tackle drug smuggling in prisons.

For some time concern has been expressed over products sold at so called headshops, which sell legal highs and other substances.

The new strategy calls for greater monitoring of such outlets.

A new drug detection service for prisons should also be set up according to some of its recommendations.

Today the Minister of State with responsibility for the strategy John Curran rejected criticism that funding for the sector had been cut. He said greater efficiencies were needed.

Mr Curran announced that a new plan between pharmacies and the HSE to roll out needle exchange at 65 new locations was being sponsored by the Elton John AIDS Foundation.John Curran

He said: 'Implementation of this initiative, which is support by the Elton John AIDS Foundation, will commence shortly.

'It is heartening to see a public figure like Elton John being involved in such work and I thank him and the Foundation for their support for this initiative.'

However, the move has been criticised by Merchants Quay Ireland.

The strategy will be reviewed in one year to update progress.

The Citywide group which works with communities affected by drug addiction has criticised what they say is a lack of funding to implement the measures in the strategy.

Citywide co-ordinator Daithí Doolan said the McCarthy report will see €2.6m taken from funds to implement proposals, he said it is inexplicable that such a cut would be imposed at a time when Government is claiming to do more to tackle the problem.

He said adequate resources need to be allocated in order to properly tackle the drugs problem.

Mr Doolan said that a full-time Minister of State with a seat at Cabinet is needed in order to give drug eradication the priority it needs.

Citywide is part-funded by the National Drugs Strategy and works in communities affected by drug addiction.