Consultation on new Substance Use Strategy for NI – “Making Life Better – Preventing Harm and Empowering Recovery: A Strategic Framework to Tackle the Harm from Substance Use”

Closed 26 Feb 2021

Opened 30 Oct 2020


The Department of Health (DoH) is responsible for leading and co-ordinating action on Northern Ireland’s new substance use strategy.  The new strategy “Making Life Better – Preventing Harm and Empowering Recovery: A Strategic Framework to Tackle the Harm from Substance Use” - was issued for public consultation on 30 October 2020. We would very much welcome your views on what is contained within the new strategy. The full consultation document can be found on the DoH website at:

The current strategy – the New Strategic Direction for Alcohol & Drugs Phase 2 (NSD Phase 2) – was published and endorsed by the former NI Executive in 2012. NSD Phase 2 was reviewed, and a report published which looked at its outcomes, outputs, and stakeholder views on how successful this has been.

Why we are consulting

Taking on board the findings from the review, a pre-consultation exercise took place in 2019 on what should be contained within a new substance use strategy. This was followed by the development of the new strategy on a co-production basis with involvement from key stakeholders including: the community and voluntary sector; service users; health professionals; academics; and key government departments and agencies.

We are now seeking views from partners and the general public on the new strategy. We want your views on the vision, indicators, outcomes and actions set out in the new strategy. And we want your views on what should be prioritised, in the event that not all proposed actions can be taken forward in the final published strategy.

What happens next

Following this consultation, we will collate and analyse all views and inputs, and begin the process of developing the final strategy. This will need to be agreed by the Minister of Health and the NI Executive before being published. It is important to note that the NSD Phase 2 – and all the structures that support action and collaboration – will remain in place until any new strategy is put in place.


  • Higher education students
  • Service users/patients
  • Carers
  • General Public
  • Advocate groups
  • Community/Voluntary sector organisations
  • Health and social care providers – statutory
  • Health and social care providers – non-statutory
  • Health professionals
  • Health and social care staff
  • Health and social care regulators
  • Staff representatives/Unions
  • Royal Colleges
  • Political representatives


  • Health and social care policy
  • Health and social care legislation
  • Quality and safety
  • Regulation of health and social care
  • Provision of health and social care services
  • Improvement of health and social care services
  • Patient/service user advocacy
  • Staff engagement
  • Community safety
  • Criminal justice
  • Crime
  • Courts
  • Policing
  • Probation
  • Family Justice