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Pike, Brigid (2008) In brief. Drugnet Ireland, Issue 28, Winter 2008, p. 21.

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Between 7 and 9 July 2008 the ‘Beyond 2008’ NGO Forum was held in Vienna.  It was the final step in the global consultation of NGOs involved in responding to drug-related problems. The Forum adopted by consensus a Declaration and three Resolutions. These have been submitted to the Commission on Narcotic Drugs and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime for consideration as they prepare for the review of the UN’s 10-year (1998–2008) action plan against illicit drugs, which is due to take place in March 2009. www.vngoc.org

 On 21 August 2008 the government’s new homelessness strategy, The way home:  a strategy to address adult homelessness in Ireland, 2008–2013, was released by the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government. www.environ.ie
 
On 28 August 2008 the Institute of Public Health in Ireland and the Combat Poverty Agency published Tackling health inequalities: an all-Ireland approach to social determinants. The report highlights the extent to which health outcomes are influenced by social factors such as poor housing, nutrition and education. The report also demonstrates how health behaviours, e.g. the food we eat, how much exercise we take, whether or not we smoke or drink, have a direct and important impact on our health. The WHO estimates that lifestyle-related factors, including smoking and alcohol misuse, are implicated in at least a third of the total burden of disease in Europe. www.publichealth.ie
 
On 26 September 2008 the British–Irish Council summit meeting agreed to a renewed focus on the families of problem drug users in any future drugs strategies prepared, with a view to providing increased support to those families and to better harness their potential to facilitate life improvements for problem drug users. www.british-irishcouncil.org

On 30 September 2008 the Dial to Stop Drug Dealing campaign was launched. It includes a number of local and regional campaigns, organised through the local and regional drugs task forces. The objective is to encourage people to ring a confidential telephone number with any information they may have on drug dealing. Details of the roll-out and operation of this national scheme were provided by Minister of State Curran in response to questions asked in Dáil Éireann on 7 October 2008. www.oireachtas.ie
 
In September 2008 the Inspector of Prisons presented an interim report to the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform. Reporting on his first round of prison visits, the new Inspector reported a number of areas of particular concern, including the prevalence of drugs issues, an area in which he called for ‘positive action’ by prison management. www.justice.ie
 
In September 2008 the National report for Ireland on strategies for social protection & social inclusion 2008–2010 was submitted to the European Commission by the Office for Social Inclusion. It sets out Ireland’s plans in response to the EU’s common objectives with regard to social inclusion, pensions and health and long-term care. The issue of illicit drugs is addressed under the heading of social inclusion. www.socialinclusion.ie 
 
On 2–4 October 2008, the European Society for Social Drug Research (ESSD) held its 19th annual conference in Budapest. Fifty researchers from 21 European countries presented some 36 current research projects for discussion with their colleagues about conceptual design and methodological issues. Irish researchers Paula Mayock, Jennifer Cronly and Michael Clatts presented a paper entitled ‘The onset of heroin use among “high risk” youth in Ireland: an ethnoepidemiological approach’. (The Pompidou Group provides financial support for the organisation of the ESSD annual conference and the publication of its annual book.)
 
On 7 October 2008 the role of sport and recreation in preventing drug use was the subject of a Parliamentary Question. Minister of State Curran responded: ‘While the provision of sport and recreational facilities may have a role to play, they will not, in themselves, provide the solution to the misuse of illicit substances. Ultimately, I believe that it is only through addressing the risk factors through both the National Drugs Strategy — and the broader social inclusion agenda — that we can ultimately reduce the prevalence of problem drug use in our society.’ www.oireachtas.ie
 
On 14 October 2008 the budget for 2009 was announced by Brian Lenihan TD, Minister for Finance. In a statement on the same day Minister Ó Cuív and Minister of State Curran stated that their primary concern is to make every effort to ensure that the daily front-line services, especially those focused on the needs of the most socially deprived communities, are protected. With regard to drugs, the capital allocation of €8.1 million for 2009 includes funding for the Premises Initiative, which provides for the accommodation needs of community-based drugs projects, and also for the Regional Youth Initiative, announced earlier this year. This Initiative will provide capital funding for the development of dedicated youth facilities in regional drugs task force areas, not covered under the Young People’s Facilities and Services Fund.  Sixteen projects are being supported under this Initiative to the tune of almost €2.3m.  On the current side, the focus will be on protecting front-line community-based projects and initiatives delivering vital services in areas worst affected by the drug problem.
 
On 15–16 October 2008 the Children Acts Advisory Board’s 2008 National Conference was held in Dublin. The theme of the conference was ‘More than rhetoric: improving outcomes for children and their families through inter-agency working’. www.srsb.ie
 
In October 2008 the National Office for the Prevention of Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence (Cosc) published a summary of the submissions it had received with regard to the development of a national strategy on domestic, sexual and gender-based violence. Drugs were mentioned under two headings. With regard to ensuring that services meet the needs of various population groups, there was a call for the provision of high-dependency units for women who experience domestic violence and have alcohol and drug dependencies. With regard to legislative provisions, it was observed that the lack of a statutory definition of sexual consent gives rise to a lack of clarity, particularly in cases where capacity to give consent is in question, such as those involving people under the influence of drugs or alcohol. There were calls for an alternative, expanded and more comprehensive definition of the concept, with the principal focus being on the conduct of the accused rather than of the complainant. It was also stressed that the issue of consent and voluntary intoxication should be clarified. 
Item Type
Article
Publication Type
Irish-related, Open Access, Article
Drug Type
All substances
Issue Title
Issue 28, Winter 2008
Date
2008
Page Range
p. 21
Publisher
Health Research Board
Volume
Issue 28, Winter 2008
EndNote
Accession Number
HRB (Available)

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