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Connolly, Johnny (2008) European Legal Database on Drugs. Drugnet Ireland , Issue 25, Spring 2008 , p. 19.

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The European Legal Database on Drugs (ELDD) was launched by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction in 2001, and is now recognised as the definitive source of information on European drug laws.1

 The database holds four types of information:
·         Legal texts containing over 800 texts, usually in the original language but often with English translations.
·         Country profiles outlining the legal aspects of the substances controlled and the main provisions of the various drug laws in all EU members states and Norway.
·         Topic overviews of ’hot topics‘, such as the laws and penalties in relation to cannabis, drug classification systems, and treatment alternatives to prosecution or prison. Recent additions include the legal status of drug testing at work, hallucinogenic mushrooms, needle and syringe programmes, driving after taking drugs, controlled deliveries and precursor trafficking penalties.
·         Legal reports providing more detailed, comparative analyses of the situation across Europe. For instance, the Substances and Classifications table lists 500 substances and their classification under national and international legislation. Also included are reports on drug substitution treatment, decriminalisation, the legal aspects of medical cannabis, drugs and young people, and the role of the quantity in the prosecution of drug offences.
These resources are supplemented by a News service, which provides an email alert to registered users (general public) informing them of newsworthy changes to member states’ national laws or to EU laws or policies.2 Visitors to the site can avail of this service by completing a registration form online. A network of legal correspondents, appointed by the governments of the member states, provide the ELDD with updates on national legislation. The Irish legal correspondent is based in the Alcohol and Drug Research Unit of the HRB.
Forthcoming activities of the ELDD include completion of a study on the emergency scheduling of new drugs throughout the EU and Norway and of another study on existing EU-wide administrative or non-criminal punishments for drug offences.
A number of significant legal provisions have been introduced into Irish law over the past two years.3 In October 2006, provisions of the Criminal Justice Act 2006 for the registration of convicted drug offenders with the Garda Síochána were introduced. These provisions apply specifically to individuals convicted of drug trafficking offences and sentenced to a term of imprisonment of not less than one year. The Drug Offenders Register is based on the same principle as the Sex Offenders Register and will enable the movement of convicted drug dealers to be recorded in a similar manner; for instance, information relating to a change of address, or movement in or out of the country, must be supplied to the gardaí.
Parts 11 and 13 of the Criminal Justice Act 2006 relating to anti-social behaviour orders (ASBOs) came into force on 1 January 2007 for adults and on 1 March for children (aged 12–18 years). ASBOs are measures introduced to tackle anti-social behaviour such as intimidation, abusive or threatening behaviour and vandalism, some of which may be alcohol- and/or drug-related.
In May 2007, a number of new provisions contained in the Prisons Act 2007 came into force. Section 35 allows the Minister for Justice to make rules for the regulation and good government of prisons. Such rules may provide for the testing of prisoners for intoxicants, including alcohol and other drugs. Section 36 prohibits the unauthorised possession or use of a mobile phone by a prisoner, and the unauthorised supply of a mobile phone to a prisoner. There is anecdotal evidence that mobile phones have been instrumental in facilitating drug supply to prisons.
The Criminal Justice Act 2007 contains a number of important changes to the criminal justice system, including increased Garda detention powers, changes to existing provisions in relation to the right to silence, and the introduction of mandatory sentencing for a range of offences.4 Many of these changes have been introduced in the context of growing concern about drug-related crime.  (Johnny Connolly)
3. For further details on these provisions, see Alcohol and Drug Research Unit (2007) 2007 National Report (2006 data) to the EMCDDA by the Reitox National Focal Point. Ireland: new developments, trends and in-depth information on selected issues. Dublin: Health Research Board. An online copy can be found at
4. See Connolly J and Morgan A (2007) The Criminal Justice Act 2007. Drugnet Ireland, Issue 22: 10.
Item Type
Issue Title
Page Range
p. 19
Health Research Board
Issue 25, Spring 2008
Accession Number
HRB (Available)

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