Home > Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 57 - National Drugs Strategy [42992/10].

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 57 - National Drugs Strategy [42992/10]. (17 Nov 2010)

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57. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform if his attention has been drawn to recent data from the Health Research Board pointing to an increase in heroin use, particularly in centres outside of Dublin; the steps he is taking to control the spread of heroin in these areas; if he is satisfied that the gardaí have sufficient resources to deal with the problem; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42992/10]

Minister for Justice and Law Reform (Deputy Dermot Ahern): I am aware of a paper published by the Health Research Board in January this year which analyses the National Drug Treatment Reporting System (NDTRS) data including records of the number of people in treatment for problem drug use (including heroin) in 2008. I am also aware of the recent publication of the 2010 Annual Report of the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) for which the Health Research Board provided Irish data in respect of heroin use and treatment take up.


It is the case that heroin use remains a serious problem. All the indications are that, while the use of the drug is relatively stable in the Dublin region, it has in recent years become more widely dispersed around the country, particularly in the major cities and in towns across Leinster.


The Government’s approach to tackling the problem of drug misuse, including heroin use, continues to be a priority and our response is being pursued through a co-ordinated and integrated approach under the National Drugs Strategy 2009-2016. The Strategy tackles the issue under pillar headings of drugs supply reduction, education and prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and research.


In terms of drugs law enforcement, drugs and organised crime are being prioritised by An Garda Síochána as a core focus for 2010, through the Garda Síochána Policing Plan, which reflects Government strategies contained in the National Drugs Strategy.


Drugs units are in place in every Garda Division and work in partnership with the Garda National Drugs Unit in tackling and targeting drug-related crime. Divisional and District Policing Plans also reflect the focus of the Policing Plan in terms of drugs law enforcement. In addition, An Garda Síochána has strong and strategic partnerships in place at international level targeting drug trafficking.


The links between organised crime and the illicit drugs trade continue to be actively pursued. The Garda National Drugs Unit, working with other national units, including the Organised Crime Unit and the Criminal Assets Bureau, are targeting persons involved in the heroin trade who are the subject of intelligence-led operations aimed at detecting and prosecuting offenders.


An Garda Síochána is satisfied that, in addition to the considerable volume of drugs seized to date in 2010, a significant impact has also been made by arresting and prosecuting a number of major players involved in the trafficking of drugs, including heroin.


Finally I can assure the Deputy that my Department, and all the agencies under its aegis, remain fully committed to the approach adopted in the National Drugs Strategy and to its implementation.

Vol. 722 No. 2
Written Answers – National Drug Strategy
Wednesday, 17 November 2010

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