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Pike, Brigid (2008) In brief. Drugnet Ireland, Issue 25, Spring 2008, p. 29.

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On 1 November 2007 the Policing Priorities for An Garda Síochána for 2008 were announced by Brian Lenihan TD, Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform. A top priority, which the Garda Commissioner must take into account in preparing his policing plan for 2008, is gun crime, organised crime and drugs. The aims are:

  • targeting through the use, in particular, of specialist units and targeted operations such as Operation Anvil;
  • profiling, intelligence gathering and threat assessments in relation to individuals/ groups involved in these categories of crime; delivery on Garda actions and performances set out in the National Drugs Strategy; 
  •  the pursuit by the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) of the proceeds of crime, including, through the presence of enhanced liaison arrangements between Garda divisions and CAB, the assets of those engaged at any level in drug dealing;
  • and enhanced activities by the Drugs Units and the Force focusing, in particular, on places throughout the country where the presence of drug dealing and the use of illicit drugs is likely. www.garda.ie
On 15 November 2007 the Social Inclusion Report Ireland 2006–2007 was launched. It reports on progress against the targets/actions contained in NAPinclusion 2007–2016, i.e. the National Action Plan for Social Inclusion. It lists the targets and progress for drug-related measures under Children and Communities. www.socialinclusion.ie
In November 2007 the Irish Prison Chaplains Annual Report 2006/07 was submitted to the Minister for Justice. Overall, it argues for a shift from punitive to restorative justice. In respect of drugs, the report states: ‘The misuse of drugs continues to be a major problem in most of our prisons. We welcome the introduction of drug counsellors and addiction nurses and we hope that their expertise in dealing with drug addiction will help address the drug culture that prevails. Given the ongoing debate around methadone maintenance, we hope this additional service will offer greater possibilities and opportunities to those struggling to remain drug free. We strongly recommend that resources be made available for those prisoners who plead for help in the whole area of drug addiction. To date, at any given time only nine prisoners may avail of a special six-week course in Mountjoy to address their addiction. Surely this must be seen to be insufficient when the drug addiction is the cause of so many prisoners been incarcerated in the first place. There are numerous prisoners who look for a drug free landing in order to stay away from drugs but they are few in number. Many people will in fact have been introduced to drugs initially while they were in prison. Sniffer dogs have been introduced in some prisons, which have reduced the quantity of drugs getting into the prison. This can cause tension on the landings when the supply is short. We call for a systematic approach to be implemented so that as the supply is diminished the appropriate support be offered in its place.’ www.cfj.ie
On 5 December 2007 the Drugs Initiative budget for 2008 was announced. The following day, Minister of State Pat Carey TD stated in Dáil Éireann: ‘In respect of the area for which I am responsible, I welcome the €12.5 million increase in funding for drugs programmes in 2008, which the Minister for Finance announced in yesterday’s budget. This increase of more than 25% constitutes a major funding boost for drugs programmes next year and builds on increases in funding secured for these programmes in the past three years. It reaffirms the high priority the Government continues to give to tackling the drugs problem. The 2008 allocation of €64 million, of which almost €56 million is current funding and €8 million is capital funding, will facilitate progress towards the fulfilment of drug-related commitments in the programme for Government.’ www.oireachtas.ie
On 20 December 2007 the Irish Prison Service published its annual report for 2006. The document reports overall progress in relation to drug treatment and rehabilitation services and the elimination of the supply of drugs in prisons. It also includes reports in respect of each individual prison: statistics are given on methadone treatment in prisons, and the number of those in prison on drug offences, including a breakdown by age of offender and length of sentence. www.irishprisons.ie
In December 2007 the Beckley Foundation published its 14th report The effects of decriminalisation of drug use in Portugal. The report states that the statistical indicators suggest that, since decriminalisation in July 2001, there has been increased use of cannabis, decreased use of heroin, increased uptake of treatment, and reduction in drug-related deaths. Decriminalisation has enabled earlier intervention and more targeted and therapeutic responses to drug users, increased collaboration across a network of services, and increased attention to adopting policies that work. This is perceived to be reducing the level of current and future drug use and harm. Yet, key informants also reported that impacts were less than expected and that there were concerns over the message that decriminalisation was sending to new drug users. www.idpc.ie
In January 2008 a research study Accident & Emergency Nursing Assessment of Deliberate Self Harm was released by the HSE South and the National Suicide Research Foundation Ireland. It reports on a pilot study exploring ‘the impact of introducing a suicide education programme and a suicide intent scale into A&E/MAU nursing practice’. The study was based on the concern that inadequate assessment of deliberate self-harm (DSH) patients may result in failure to diagnose treatable underlying conditions such as alcohol dependence. Key findings of the study were that (a) the provision of training was associated with a significant increase in nurses’ confidence in dealing with DSH patients and positive changes in their attitudes towards suicidal behaviour and its prevention, and (b) the use of a suicide intent scale is potentially valuable in referring DSH patients presenting at A&E/MAU to the appropriate service. www.nsrf.ie
On 3 March 2008 the stimulant BZP (1-benzylpiperazine) became subject to ‘control measures and criminal provisions’ across the EU member states, following a decision by the European Council (Document number 6573/08: Council Decision on defining 1-benzylpiperazine (BZP) as a new psychoactive substance which is to be made subject to control measures and criminal provisions). The Council decision was the final stage of a three-step procedure designed to respond to potentially threatening new psychoactive drugs in the EU. Ireland's Department of Health and Children has begun the process of declaring BZP to be a controlled substance under Irish Misuse of Drugs legislation; this process will be completed within one year.
Item Type
Publication Type
Irish-related, Open Access, Article
Drug Type
All substances
Issue Title
Issue 25, Spring 2008
Page Range
p. 29
Health Research Board
Issue 25, Spring 2008
Accession Number
HRB (Available)

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