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Pike, Brigid (2012) In brief. Drugnet Ireland, Issue 42, Summer 2012, p. 18.

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In 2011 YODA (Youth Organisations for Drug Action) was set up in Europe. Its ‘activities’ include promoting the collaboration and unity of young people across Europe in the pursuit of evidence-based drug policies which respect their human rights, providing representation for young people’s interests in drug policy in an international arena, and building the leadership skills of young people through promoting civic participation and providing advocacy training. www.euro-yoda.org

In April 2012 UNODC youth initiative: discussion guide was released. It provides materials to support the facilitation of discussions with young people on the following themes:

1.     Perceptions about drug use
2.     What is vulnerability?
3.     The direct effects of using drugs
4.     Abuse of prescription drugs
5.     Consequences and risks associated with drug use
6.     Prevention of drug use
7.     Treatment of drug dependence
8.     The role of youth in the global effort to prevent drug use
On 12 January 2012 the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) heard Ireland’s Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Eamon Gilmore TD, give his inaugural speech as Chairperson-in-Office, which position Ireland will hold for the whole of 2012. With 56 member countries, the OSCE offers a forum for political negotiations and decision-making in the fields of early warning, conflict prevention, crisis management and post-conflict rehabilitation. Minister Gilmore stated that under the Politico-Military Dimension of the OSCE’s work, ‘Ireland will seek to continue work on tackling transnational threats such as organised crime, cyber threats including cyber-crime, drugs, terrorism and trafficking.’ www.osce.org  
 
On 23 January 2012 the Children’s Rights Alliance Report card 2012 was published. The section on ‘alcohol and drugs’  gets a ‘D’grade, an improvement on last year’s ‘F’ in alcohol, but, according to the authors, ‘still a dangerously low grade reflecting the failure to publish the National Addiction Strategy and the lack of budgetary measures to curb access to cheap alcohol’. www.childrensrights.ie
 
On 24 January 2012 the Vienna declaration on drug policy was the subject of a response by Minister for Justice and Equality, Alan Shatter TD, to a Parliamentary Question: ‘In 2010 the International AIDS Society convened the XVIII International Aids Conference in Vienna. As stated in the official declaration of the Conference (also known as the ’Vienna Declaration’) the aim of the declaration is to seek to improve community health and safety by calling for the incorporation of scientific evidence into illicit drug policies. The declaration calls on governments and international organisations to undertake a number of measures including a transparent review of the effectiveness of current drug policies, the implementation of a science-based public health approach to address individual and community harms stemming from illicit drug use, decriminalisation of drug users and the meaningful involvement of members of affected communities in developing services and policies etc.’ Minister Shatter stated that the Government’s approach to tackling the problem of drug misuse is set out in the National Drugs Strategy (2009–2016), which was drawn up on foot of an extensive public consultation process. http://debates.oireachtas.ie/dail/2012/01/24/00311.asp
 
In March 2012 Towards revision of the UN drug control conventions: the logic and dilemmas of like-minded groups, written by Dave Bewley-Taylor, was published. He makes the following key points:
o    Despite interpretative tensions around some policy approaches, inherent flexibility within the UN drug control conventions allows members of the drug control regime some policy space at the national level.
o    Should they wish to do so, however, states already pushing at the limits of the regime would only be able to expand further national policy space via an alteration in their relationship to the UN drug control conventions and the prohibitive norm at the regime’s core.
o    Mindful of the political and procedural dynamics of the regime, the formation and operation of a group, or groups, of like-minded nations appears to be the most logical and promising approach for some form of treaty revision.
o    The varied nature of dissatisfaction with the prohibitive ethos of the regime combines with the character of drug policy to generate dilemmas for the like-minded group approach.
o    Within the current environment it is plausible to suggest groupings around traditional and religious uses, cannabis regulation, technical issues and system-wide coherence.
o    The centenary of the regime is an opportune moment to consider some form of treaty revision and the formation of like-minded groups to that end.
 
In March 2012 the Programme for Government: annual report 2012 was released. Reporting on the coalition government’s first year in office, in relation to illicit drugs it reported three achievements: (1) The National Substance Misuse Strategy Steering Group launched its report on 7 February 2012. An Action Plan to implement the recommendations in the report is being drawn up and is expected to be completed by summer 2012. (2) Attention is being focused on increasing the availability of methadone treatment services outside Dublin; an increased number of detox facilities have come on stream in various locations; and needle exchange services are being provided in over 60 community pharmacies at various locations outside Dublin. (3) The catchment area of the Drug Treatment Court was extended significantly with effect from July 2011. A review of the court commenced in early 2012 with a view to completion by Q3, 2012. www.taoiseach.gov.ie
 
On 17 April 2012 the US National Drug Control Strategy 2012 www.WhiteHouse.gov/ONDCPwas released. The new Strategy is guided by three facts: addiction is a disease of the brain, which can be treated, rather than a behavioural problem; people with substance use disorders can recover; and innovative new criminal justice reforms can stop the revolving door of drug use, crime, incarceration, and re-arrest.  The Strategy outlines programs that work to significantly reform the criminal justice system by diverting non-violent drug offenders into treatment instead of incarceration, addressing substance use disorders through the healthcare system and youth outreach, targeting violent transnational criminal organizations, and strengthening international partnerships.
 
(Compiled by Brigid Pike)
Item Type
Article
Publication Type
International, Open Access, Article
Drug Type
Substances (not alcohol/tobacco)
Issue Title
Issue 42, Summer 2012
Date
June 2012
Page Range
p. 18
Publisher
Health Research Board
Volume
Issue 42, Summer 2012
EndNote
Accession Number
HRB (Electronic Only)

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