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Health Research Board. Irish National Focal Point to the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction. (2017) Ireland: national report for 2016 – drug policy. Dublin: Health Research Board.

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Ireland’s National Drugs Strategy (interim) 2009–16 was launched on 10 September 2009 (Department of Community 2009). The overall strategic aim 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. Five strategic aims are set out:

  1. To create a safer society through the reduction of the supply and availability of drugs for illicit use.
  2. To minimise problem drug use throughout society.
  3. To provide appropriate and timely substance treatment and rehabilitation services (including harm reduction services) tailored to individual needs.
  4. To ensure the availability of accurate, timely, relevant and comparable data on the extent and nature of problem substance use in Ireland.
  5. To have in place an efficient and effective framework for implementing the National Drugs Strategy (interim) 2009–16.

A set of specific objectives and key performance indicators are set out under each of the strategy’s five pillars. These are further elaborated through 63 actions spread across the different pillars, which list the agencies responsible for delivering them.

While the National Drugs Strategy is predominately focused on illicit drugs, Action 1 called for the establishment of a steering group to develop a national substance misuse strategy aimed at covering both illicit drugs and alcohol. The steering group’s report was launched on 7 February 2012 and measures based on it, such as the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill 2015, have been developed by Government.

Key new developments include:

  • A new National Drugs Strategy is under development and will be in place in early 2017.
  • A new Programme for Government was published in May 2016. This included a commitment to pursue a health-led rather than criminal justice approach to drug use.
  • A new Minister of State for Communities and the National Drugs Strategy, Catherine Byrne, was appointed in May 2016. Ms Byrne has been a longstanding advocate of medically supervised injecting centres, and the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill.
  • The brief of the Drugs Policy Unit within the Department of Health has been expanded to include social inclusion.
  • Legislation is being developed to allow for the first medically supervised injecting centre in Ireland. Although delayed, the necessary legislation is expected before the end of 2016.
  • There is ongoing commitment at Government level to enact the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill, although it is facing challenges at EU level.
Date:2017
Pages:19 p.
Publisher:Health Research Board
Corporate Creators:Health Research Board. Irish National Focal Point to the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction
Place of Publication:Dublin
EndNote:View
Accession Number:HRB (Electronic Only)
Related URLs:
Subjects:MP-MR Policy, planning, economics, work and social services > Government and politics
MP-MR Policy, planning, economics, work and social services > Policy > Policy on drugs and alcohol
MP-MR Policy, planning, economics, work and social services > Financial management
MP-MR Policy, planning, economics, work and social services > Programme planning, implementation, and evaluation > Programme planning (strategy)
MP-MR Policy, planning, economics, work and social services > Economic policy
VA Geographic area > Europe > Ireland

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