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Home > Precarious positions of understanding: the illicit drug landscape and drug education in Ireland.

Darcy, Clay (2020) Precarious positions of understanding: the illicit drug landscape and drug education in Ireland. Irish Educational Studies , Early online . https://doi.org/10.1080/03323315.2020.1779111.

Set against a backdrop of diminished interest in drug education outside of school settings in Ireland, this paper draws from 10 years of professional practice in the field of drug education and prevention, to reflect on illicit drug use in Ireland and on the lay understandings of illicit drug use encountered by this practitioner. This paper sets out to achieve four things; paint a picture of the Irish illicit drug landscape and of lay understandings of drugs and drug issues; highlight the emergent issue of people obtaining fake drug information on the Internet; explore drug education as a field of scholarship in Ireland; and reflect on 10 years of practitioner experience within the field. Given the complexity of the drug landscape and the proliferation of questionable drug information available online, this paper argues that drug education is an appropriate and worthwhile response to precarious understandings of illicit drugs and drug issues. The paper suggests drug education warrants revival within the Irish context, particularly given the pace of change in both the drugs and online landscapes. To conclude, this practitioner urges other practitioners and scholars with an interest in drug education within the Irish context to revive and advance the field.


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