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Building on Experience: National Drugs Strategy 2001 – 2008

31st December 2000

The overall objective of this review was to identify any gaps or deficiencies in the existing strategy and to develop revised strategies and, if necessary, new arrangements through which to deliver them. An outline of the report is as a follows:

Overview of Drug Misuse: As part of the review, a study of the latest available data on the extent and nature of drug misuse in Ireland was undertaken. This revealed that the most commonly used drug in Ireland is cannabis, followed by ecstasy. However, in terms of harm to the individual and the community, heroin has the greatest impact. Both treatment data and data from An Garda Síochána indicate that heroin misuse remains, almost exclusively, a Dublin phenomenon. Research shows that the majority of those presenting for treatment are male, are under 30 years of age and are unemployed while over half had already left school by the age of 15.

National Drug Strategies: Ireland’s current approach to tackling the drug problem has developed around the four pillars of supply reduction, prevention, treatment and research.

Overview of International Approaches: As part of the review, the drug strategies of a number of other countries were examined. The approach to dealing with drug misuse in those countries shared common twin characteristics – a focus on the needs of the drug misuser, coupled with attempts through various enforcement measures and agencies to cut off the supply of drugs.

An Overview of the Issues that Emerged during the Consultation Process: An extensive public consultation process was undertaken as part of the review to give individuals and groups an opportunity to outline their views on the effectiveness of the current strategy and how it might be improved/adapted.

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