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Government for National Recovery 2011-2016. (2015) Programme for Government annual report 2015. Dublin: Department of An Taoiseach.

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P.66 Roadside Drug Testing

The Road Traffic Act 2014 provides for non-technological intoxicant impairment testing and will assist the Gardaí in forming the opinion that a driver is under the influence of drugs while driving and which can be used as evidence in Court for a prosecution. The Government have approved the drafting of the Road Traffic Bill 2015 which will provide for roadside testing by members of An Garda Síochana.

 

P.67 Combating Smuggling

Over 5, 300 seizures of cigarettes and tobacco were made by Revenue Customs Service in 2014 with an estimated value of €25.7m. A further 6,157 drug seizures were made with an estimated value of over €19m.

In 2014, there were 46 joint controlled delivery operations involving the Revenue Customs Service and An Garda Síochána, and/or the Irish Medicines Board. They also participated in several international operations including:

  • targeting trade in illicit/counterfeit medicines and internet pharmacies
  • a joint EU regional maritime Customs Operation
  • an EU wide operation focusing on drugs and synthetic drugs

 

P.68 Review of Mandatory Sentencing Laws

The Final Report of the Working Group established to conduct a Strategic Review of Penal Policy was published in September with a Working Group established to take forward the key recommendations in relation to sentencing. This involves:

  • preparing proposals and options on reform of sentencing policy including a review of the threshold at which presumptive minimum sentences in drugs and other offences apply
  • preparing proposals on legislating for the review’s recommendation that Courts set out in writing their reasons for imposing a custodial sentenceThe Penal Policy Review Group also recommended that a more structured approach to sentencing should be led by the judiciary. Recent judgements from the Court of Criminal Appeal have given guidance for the first time on appropriate sentence ranges which should lead to greater consistency in sentencing.

P.69 Drugs

Tackling Alcohol Misuse

Government approved a comprehensive set of measures, set out in the General Scheme of the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill. This is the first time legislation will deal specifically with the issue of alcohol misuse from a public health perspective. It aims to achieve a reduction in excessive patterns of alcohol consumption and the resultant social, economic and health harms, including by:

  • minimum Unit Pricing for retailing of alcohol products
  • regulation of marketing and advertising of alcohol
  • enforcement of structural separation of alcohol from other products in shops
  • health labelling of alcohol products

Substance Misuse Strategy
An additional €2.1m has been provided in the HSE’s 2015 budget for a range of measures to improve addiction services, including enhancing detox and rehabilitation facilities, mainstreaming needle exchange services outside Dublin and a pilot project to increase access to naloxone to treat overdose in heroin users.

Rehabilitation Programmes
Recent figures indicate that there are now 804 residential beds, comprising 23 inpatient unit detoxification beds, 117 community-based residential detoxification beds, 4 adolescent residential detoxification beds, 642 residential rehabilitation beds and 18 adolescent residential rehabilitation beds. This represents a substantial increase of almost 20% since the 2007 report of the HSE Working Group on Residential Treatment & Rehabilitation.

Supply Reduction

Drug seizures valued at approximately €62.5m were made by the Gardaí in 2014 through targeted operations focusing on specific facets of the drugs trade. A further joint operation involving An Garda Síochána, Revenue Customs Service and the Naval Service led to a significant drug seizure of cocaine with a provisional estimated street value of over €71m.

 

Raising Substance Misuse Awareness

Dormant Accounts funding of €1m has been provided in 2015 to support a range of activities, including community mobilisation, the development of drug and alcohol policies, the review and evaluation of drug and alcohol policies and local and regional drug and alcohol awareness campaigns. In addition, the Alcohol Forum is piloting community mobilisation training in five Drug and Alcohol Task Force areas to encourage community engagement in tackling the misuse of alcohol at the local level. It is intended to evaluate the pilot and to extend it to other Task Force areas if successful.

 

Combating Drugs in Schools

Implementation is underway of a series of recommendations aimed at assisting teachers in the delivery of the SPHE programme with a view to complementing actions specified in the National Drugs Strategy 2009-2016 including a new short course on SPHE at Junior Cycle with more time allocated including a strand that deals with substance misuse.

 

Needle Exchange Programmes
The Pharmacy needle Exchange Programme exceeded its target of recruiting 130 pharmacies by 2014 with 133 recruited in total. The number of unique service users has steadily increased from 2,995 in Quarter 3 of 2013 to 4,318 in Quarter 3 of 2014. Similarly the number of encounters has steadily increased over the same period totalling 10,467.

 

Item Type
Report
Publication Type
Irish-related, Report
Drug Type
All substances
Intervention Type
Prevention, Harm reduction, Crime prevention
Date
March 2015
Pages
88 p.
Publisher
Department of An Taoiseach
Corporate Creators
Government for National Recovery 2011-2016
Place of Publication
Dublin
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