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European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction. Early warning system - national profile. (25 May 2012)

External website: https://www.drugsandalcohol.ie/17626/

This publication presents 30 profiles, including Ireland's, of the national early warning systems on new psychoactive substances in operation in Europe in 2011.

In Ireland an emerging trends sub-committee was originally set up in September 1997 by the Department of Health as the ad-hoc early warning Committee on New Synthetic Drugs to consider national issues arising from the 1997 Joint Action on New Synthetic Drugs by the Council of the European Union concerning information exchange, risk assessment and control of new synthetic drugs where each Member State had to set up a system of early warning to monitor the emergence of this phenomenon. In 2001, the committee was placed on a formal basis within the National Advisory Committee on Drugs (NACD) and its remit extended to include the monitoring of emerging trends.

The functions of the early warning system for Ireland are to:
identify new drugs; describe new trends in drug use, and report the serious and unusual consequences of drug use.

1. National drug trend monitoring system pilot (2007).
The NACD developed and tested three new indicators for use in a Drug Trend Monitoring System (DTMS). The three indicators piloted were:
• a media monitoring system to monitor current drug seizures, drug-related court cases, and local drug issues around the country;
• a network of trend monitors consisting of frontline workers from around the country to complete a twice-yearly trend questionnaire on the drug situation in their area, and notify the DTMS when new trends arise;
• a series of focus groups with drug users to assess latest drug trends.

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