Communities with significant crack cocaine problems have been asked by the HSE to submit proposals in an effort to solve the growing problem of the drug in some areas.

The call comes following an announcement by Minister of State for Public Health, Wellbeing, and the National Drugs Strategy Frank Feighan of €850,000 in funding.

The new funding is provided in the Revised Estimates for Public Services 2022, according to the Department.

The money will "support models of best practice in cocaine treatment, including the development of training programmes for addiction service staff nationally".

It will also establish targeted interventions in disadvantaged communities worst affected by cocaine and crack cocaine.

'Funding will support services in delivering evidence-based interventions'

The HSE's Addiction Services National Clinical Lead has noted the growing recognition of problems associated with cocaine use and the emergence of crack cocaine in disadvantaged communities over the past few years.

Dr Eamon Keenan has said "the funding will support services in delivering evidence-based interventions and will increase training opportunities for staff in addiction services nationally".

It will also improve the support provided to those affected by adverse health consequences of cocaine or crack cocaine use.

Community health organisations will soon be invited to submit proposals to deliver an intervention for cocaine problems and this will include communities where there is a significant issue with crack cocaine.

Applications will be required to provide an indication of the identified population need, as well as an evidence-base for the proposed intervention.

Funding is expected to be allocated in the second quarter of this year.

The growing issue of crack cocaine was highlighted in a recent report by the Tallaght Drugs and Alcohol Task Force which described use of the drug in the Tallaght area, as an 'epidemic'.