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Pike, Brigid (2006) In brief. Drugnet Ireland, Issue 19, Autumn 2006, p. 29.

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On 18 May 2006 the Special Residential Services Board (SRSB) held its annual conference on the theme of ‘Stepping Out: Young People Leaving Care/Custody’. Presentations were given on the legislative and policy context and on the work of Crosscare, Extern Ireland, Life Centre, Lilac House, the Probation and Welfare Service, the Scottish Throughcare and Aftercare Forum, and Trinity House School.

On 25 May 2006 the report Counted in 2005 was launched byNoel Ahern TD, Minister of State for housing and urban renewal. The report presents the results of the third periodic assessment of homelessness in the Dublin area. Conducted every three years, the assessment shows that, among other things, the number of people sleeping rough increased from 1999 to 2002, but decreased between 2002 and 2005, with a significant overall decrease of 33% from 1999 to 2005.

In May 2006 the Irish Pharmaceutical Union (IPU) called on the Health Service Executive to develop a dedicated liaison service for pharmacies outside Dublin that participate in the Methadone Treatment Scheme. This service would provide community pharmacists with a point of contact if they encounter difficulties when dispensing methadone to patients. The IPU is also calling for more protection for pharmacies from attacks and tougher action in the Courts against individuals who raid pharmacies.

On 1 June 2006 an Independent Evaluation of the RAPID Programme was published. The report indicates that the RAPID programme has contributed substantially to identifying the needs of disadvantaged communities, bringing forward important local projects in response to those needs and establishing structures that have been effective in facilitating local development activity. On the negative side, the evaluators identified a general weakness with regard to strategic planning in some areas, variations in the level of interaction with the local implementation of the programme by representatives of key State agencies, and difficulty in securing funding for particular types of projects, for example, education, training and employment.

On 1 June 2006 the Criminal Law (Insanity) Act 2006 came into effect. The Act contains clear statutory rules in relation the defence of insanity and the related question of a person's fitness to be tried. For the purposes of the Act, ‘mental disorder’ is defined as a mental illness or handicap, dementia or any disease of the mind. Intoxication by alcohol or other substances is explicitly excluded from the scope of the definition.

On 2 June 2006 Democracy, Cities and Drugs held its second conference, in Ghent, Belgium, on local and participative responses to the issue of drug use. Topics included how to develop municipal drug strategies and action plans; how to create and maintain a multi-agency partnership; how to increase the involvement of communities in local drug policies; and how to change conflicts into consensus.

On 6 June 2006 the Health Service Executive (HSE) released its first annual report. It contains an account of an Alcohol Detox Unit for people who are homeless, established by the Primary, Community and Continuing Care (PCCC) Directorate in partnership with the Dublin Simon Community. In 2005, 156 people were admitted to the programme, of whom 80% completed the 7–10 day detox programme, and 66% completed the 21-day detox programme. Staff working on the programme have been trained in the Community Reinforcement Approach (CRA) to addiction treatment.

On 26 June 2006 the United National Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) selected ‘Drugs are not child's play’ as the theme of its 2006 international campaign against drug abuse and illicit trafficking. The objective is to increase public awareness about the destructive power of drugs and society's responsibility to care for the well-being of children aged 4 to 10. For further information on the campaign, see

On 6 July 2006 the Parole Board released its 2005 annual report. In relation to drug use in prisons, the Board comments: ‘The Board views with great dismay the fact that drugs are available in so many places of detention in the country. We have even seen examples of prisoners who went on drugs for the first time whilst in custody. Whilst this difficulty arises in other jurisdictions the information we have gathered reveals that it is far less prevalent than in Irish prisons and what can be done in other jurisdictions can surely be done here. The intention of the Minister and the prison service to cut out the availability of drugs in prisons must be fully supported.’

On 6 July 2006 the National Educational Welfare Board (NEWB) released its analysis of school attendance for the school year 2004/2005. It shows that attendance has improved in many of the areas targeted specifically by NEWB, such as primary and post-primary schools in designated disadvantaged areas. In a number of these targeted areas, the mean percentage of students absent on 20 days or more has declined by over 4%, compared to 2003/2004.

On 10–11 July 2006 the Council of Europe Pompidou Group held a seminar on ‘Road Traffic and Drugs’. The seminar heard that,while alcohol is recognised as a major road safety problem, alcohol combined with cannabis considerably increases the risk of fatal accidents. Also highlighted were the lack of reliable tests to detect cannabis use, and the major differences between European countries’ legislation and penalties in respect of drink and drug driving.

In July 2006 the World Customs Organization (WCO) released its definitive 2005 report on Customs and Drugs, an annual report that provides a global overview of drug trafficking. It reports trends and statistics for individual drugs, including heroin, cocaine, cannabis resin, herbal cannabis, amphetamines, MDMA (Ecstasy), methamphetamine and khat (Catha edulis).

On 2 August 2006 the Guidelines for Developing a School Substance Use Policy, published in 2002 by the Department of Education and Science, were augmented by the publication of support materials, including a template prompt document outlining issues to consider and questions to ask when developing a substance use policy, and a sample alcohol, tobacco and drug use policy. The materials are intended to assist school authorities in developing their own policies.

On 31 August 2006 The Irish Times reported that the Government had deferred publication of its annual progress report on the Agreed Programme for Government, usually published in July. It is instead considering a more comprehensive pre-election account of its time in power. The Agreed Programme contains five new initiatives not contained in the National Drugs Strategy, which are intended to contribute to achieving drug-free prisons, reducing drug supply and improving information regarding the drug situation.



Item Type
Publication Type
Irish-related, International, Open Access, Article
Drug Type
All substances
Issue Title
Issue 19, Autumn 2006
July 2006
Page Range
p. 29
Health Research Board
Issue 19, Autumn 2006
Accession Number
HRB (Available)

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