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Pike, Brigid (2012) In brief. Drugnet Ireland , Issue 40, Winter 2011 , p. 34.

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On 6 June 2011 the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland presented the Minister for Health, Dr James Reilly TD, with the results of the first baseline research into community pharmacy practice in Ireland. A key element of the research was to examine the current service offering within pharmacies across the country, with a particular emphasis on the extent of the provision of ‘enhanced pharmacy services’, i.e. ‘services implemented in pharmacies that are additional to or not routinely provided with prescribed or non-prescribed medicines’. The following table outlines the responses with regard to two drug-related services. www.pharmaceuticalsociety.ie

Between 22 and 24 September 2011 the European Society for Social Drug Research held its 22nd annual  conference in Aarhus, Denmark. The results of two Irish research projects were presented. (1) A longitudinal pathways analysis of drug use among homelessness young people (Paula Mayock and Mary Louise Corr). The presenters focused on the relationship between the homeless and drug pathways. They describeda connection between downward transitions in drug consumption and positive housing experiences, on the one hand, and upward transitions in drug use and chronic housing instability, on the other. They argued for a conceptual shift towards a focus on housing, rather than homelessness, when attempting to explain change in the drug consumption patterns of young people who negotiate the experience and consequences of homelessness during the transition to adulthood. (2) A qualitative study, using grounded theory, of treatment‐seeking among heroin users (Anne McDonnell and Marie van Hout). Describing the social and contextual factors which enable change in perception of heroin use, recovery and treatment, the study supports the view that the concept of ‘turning points’ in the life course are valuable when thinking about how people give up the use of drugs. www.essd-research.eu 

In September 2011 Issue 67 of Working Notes, the journal of the Dublin-based Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice, included an article by Fr Peter McVerry SJ, in which he calls for a radical appraisal of current approaches to dealing with illegal drug use. Pointing out that ‘drug policy’ encompasses both policies to deal with the supply of drugs and policies to deal with demand, he says that addressing supply absorbs by far the greater share of public expenditure. Yet, despite successes in intercepting supplies, the inflow of drugs continues, with powerful criminal gangs controlling this trade. He suggests that the findings and recommendations of the Global Commission on Drug Policy, published in June 2011, provide some useful guidelines for the much-needed public and political debate on the issue.1 In relation to policies to control demand, Fr McVerry highlights the importance of addressing demand among those who are habitual users or who are addicted to drugs. He emphasises the need for a comprehensive range of detoxification, rehabilitative and after-care services, and says that it is essential that these be accessible without undue delays. While the importance of all these elements has long been recognised in official policy and strategy statements, provision falls far short of need, and existing services are endangered by current cutbacks in public funding. www.workingnotes.ie 
 
In September 2011 the Council of Europe published Some still more equal than others? Or equal opportunities for all?. The author of the report described research showing that inequality – in opportunities, wealth or health – is widespread in Europe and that the citizens of richer countries do not necessarily have healthier profiles than those of poorer countries; moreover, the citizens of egalitarian countries have the highest life expectancy. http://book.coe.int/EN
 
On 1 November 2011 Merchants Quay Ireland opened its new fully medically supervised residential detox unit at St Francis Farm, Tullow, Co Carlow. For referrals and further information please contact Rose Sheppard, Clinical Nurse Manager, Sycamore House, St Francis Farm, Tullow, Co Carlow, Tel: 087–9603905, e-mail:  rose.sheppard@mqi.ie
 
On 18 November 2011 the annual reports for 2010 of the Prison Visiting Committees to Arbour Hill, Cloverhill, Castlerea, Cork, Dóchas Centre, Limerick, Loughan House, Midlands, Mountjoy, Portlaoise, Shelton Abbey, St Patrick's Institution, the Training Unit and Wheatfield were launched. www.justice.ie

On 30 November 2011 the Central Statistics Office published the preliminary results of the 2010 Survey on Income and Living Conditions (SILC). Ireland’s official source of data on household and individual income, including key national poverty indicators, SILC 2010 shows the following changes since the 2009 survey:
 
      Average annual equivalised disposable income (i.e. household income adjusted for household composition) dropped by 5%, from €23,326 in 2009 to €22,168 in 2010.
      Income inequality increased, with the average income of those in the highest income quintile being 5.5 times that of those in the lowest income quintile, compared to 4.3 one year earlier.
      Although the at-risk-of-poverty threshold decreased by more than 10% in 2010, the at-risk-of-poverty rate rose by 1.7%, from 14.1% in 2009 to 15.8% in 2010.
      The deprivation rate (those experiencing two of more types of enforced deprivation) rose by nearly 6%. This increase was largely attributable to an increase in the deprivation rate among those NOT at risk of poverty, from 13.7% in 2009 to 19.3% in 2010. www.cso.ie
 
(Compiled by Brigid Pike)
 
1.  See‘In brief’ in Issues 37 and 39 of Drugnet Ireland for a short account of the work and final report of the Global Commission on Drug Policy. 
Item Type:Article
Issue Title:Issue 40, Winter 2011
Date:January 2012
Page Range:p. 34
Publisher:Health Research Board
Volume:Issue 40, Winter 2011
EndNote:View
Accession Number:HRB (Electronic Only)
Subjects:MP-MR Policy, planning, economics, work and social services > Policy > Policy on substance use
VA Geographic area > Europe

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