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Connolly, Johnny (2014) Drug-related intimidation and community violence. Drugnet Ireland, Issue 51, Autumn 2014, pp. 17-18.

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The issue of drug-related intimidation, much of it related to drug debt, has emerged as a major concern for many communities in Ireland in recent years.1 It has also been identified as a key issue in the National Drugs Strategy 2009–2016 (NDS), in which Action 5 aims ‘to develop a framework to provide an appropriate response to the issue of drug related intimidation in the community’.2 

A survey on the issue was completed by the North Dublin Inner-City Local Drugs and Alcohol Task Force in October 2013. The survey Trends and behaviour survey – violence, intimidation and threats involved an online survey of individuals and groups engaging with community-based projects in the north inner city.3 The survey was issued to 20 local projects and there was a 70% response rate (14 projects). Of the projects that responded, 11 worked primarily with adults, one mainly with youth (aged 12 to 23) and their families, and two with children and their families. The following are some of the key survey findings:

  • There is a significant level of engagement around violence, intimidation or threats in the area. Eighteen per cent of the service users involved with 13 projects (501/2,752) had expressed concern about these issues in the last 12 months.
  • Violence, intimidation or threats are most often directed at the individual reporting the issue (32%) or a family member (54%).
  • Those most commonly affected are aged between 26 and 35 years.
  • The violence, intimidation or threats take place mostly on the street (17%) and at home (17%), although 14% take place over the phone and 9% via the internet.
  • The most often cited reason for violence, intimidation or threats is drug-related (28%).
  • The issues affect individuals in a variety of ways with financial problems the most significant single effect cited (13%).
  • About 50% of those affected sometimes/often/always report the issue confidentially to the Garda Síochána.
  • Two thirds (64%) of respondents said they were concerned at least some of the time about their own and a colleague’s safety when supporting individuals/groups with issues relating to violence, intimidation or threats.
  • Almost 72% of the projects that responded had a working policy to support staff when dealing with issues of violence, intimidation or threats.

The CityWide Drugs Crisis Campaign, in association with the Health Research Board, is currently conducting a national audit of drug-related intimidation and community violence in task force areas throughout the state.4 The purpose of this project is to develop an evidence-base in order to establish sustainable locally-based responses to the issue.

1 Connolly J (2011) CityWide conference discusses drug-related intimidation. Drugnet Ireland, (36): 24–25.

2 Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs (2009) National Drugs Strategy (interim) 2009–2016. Dublin: Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs.

3 North Inner-City Drugs Task Force (2013) North Inner City Drugs Task Force trends and behaviours online survey. Violence, intimidation and threats. Dublin: North Inner City Drugs Task Force.

4 For further information contact the author at jconnolly@hrb.ie

Item Type
Publication Type
Irish-related, Open Access, Article
Drug Type
All substances
Intervention Type
Harm reduction, Crime prevention
Issue Title
Issue 51, Autumn 2014
October 2014
Page Range
pp. 17-18
Health Research Board
Issue 51, Autumn 2014

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