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  • Study on the prevalence of drug use, including intravenous drug use, and blood-borne viruses among the Irish prisoner population

    Posted on April 10th, 2014 TimB No comments

    Accurate up-to-date data on the extent of drug use and the prevalence of blood-borne viruses among the prisoner population are a necessary pre-requisite for health and social service planning and policy development. The most recent national study assessing the prevalence of blood-borne viruses, along with self-reported drug use within Irish prisons (Allwright et al., 1999), was carried out over a decade ago.

    This study was commissioned by the National Advisory Committee on Drugs (NACD)* in 2010 with the following objectives: to describe the nature, extent and pattern of consumption for different drugs among the prisoner population; to describe methods of drug use, including intravenous drug use, among the prisoner population; to estimate the prevalence of blood-borne viruses among the prisoner population and to identify associated risk behaviours; and to measure the uptake of individual drug treatment and harm reduction interventions (including hepatitis B vaccination) in prison.

    This study confirms that drug use, including injecting drug use, is a significant problem among prisoners in Ireland and suggests that drug-related factors are important in the acquisition of blood-borne viruses. The findings also show that prisoners who need services, such as the range of addiction services and detoxification, are very willing to use them when they are available. ‘In-prison’ uptake of testing and vaccination services confirms that prisons are appropriate settings for the provision of preventive, diagnostic and treatment services for drug users. It is hoped that the evidence provided in this study will facilitate service and policy development in this important area.



  • The National Drug-Related Deaths Database (Scotland) Report: Analysis of Deaths occurring in 2012

    Posted on March 25th, 2014 TimB No comments

    This is the fourth report from the National Drug-Related Deaths Database (NDRDD) for Scotland which presents data for the calendar year 2012 and trend data back to 2009. The NDRDD was established to collect detailed information regarding the nature and social circumstances of individuals who have died a drug-related death. This report analyses a cohort of drug-related deaths in Scotland already reported by the National Records of Scotland (NRS), formerly known as the General Register Office for Scotland.
    The NRS and NDRDD gather their information separately but since both sets of data concern drug-related deaths in Scotland, there is a great deal of overlap and therefore it is useful to draw comparisons. The NRS have identified an upward trend in drug-related deaths in Scotland since 1997 [1]; the NDRDD reports have sought to contextualise these deaths in relation to the social circumstances of the deceased. Dissemination of NDRDD findings informs policymakers and practitioners as to the potential for harm reduction and therapeutic interventions to reduce drug-related deaths in Scotland.


  • EMCDDA Regional drug strategies across the world

    Posted on March 25th, 2014 TimB No comments

    This paper offers a comparison of the drug strategies and plans adopted over the last five years by six intergovernmental organisations engaging 148 countries in four continents. It informs decision-makers, professionals and researchers working in the area of international drug policy about the way in which countries of the same region have decided to strategically approach drug-related security, social and health problems.



  • UNODC Scientific Consultation “Science addressing drugs and HIV: State of the Art” A Consensus Statement

    Posted on March 13th, 2014 TimB No comments

    As the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) conducts its high-level review of the implementation of the Political Declaration and Plan of Action, there remains a significant discrepancy between what science has shown actually works, and what in reality is being implemented in countries most affected by HIV and hepatitis C epidemics driven by unsafe injecting drug use.
    It is estimated that, of the estimated 13 (9-22) million people who inject drugs worldwide, 13% are living with HIV and more than 60% live with the hepatitis C virus with large regional variation. As long as effective measures to reduce drug consumption and unsafe injection are not implemented, HIV and hepatitis C virus will continue to spread among people who inject drugs and ultimately to their partners and to society in general.

    The HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C epidemics as these relate to injecting drug use is of particular concern in Eastern Europe and central Asia and throughout the rest of the Asian region.



  • Statement by Ireland Minister of State for Ireland at the Commission on Narcotic Drugs 2014

    Posted on March 13th, 2014 TimB No comments

    Alex White, Minister of State for Ireland

    Since we adopted the 2009 political declaration, the world drug problem has continued to evolve with new threats. Ireland has been no exception. The challenges we have faced will be exposed here, as well as the idea of new evidence-based strategies. Our startegy remains consistent with our international commitments (conventions, declaration, EU action plan).

    Ireland has been one of the most affected states by NPS proliferation, including the opening of head shops. We control 260 substances, with new criminal justice policies to sell, export and advertise these substances. This has led to the closure of almost all of these substances.

    Tackling the related harms that drug markets bring with them is one of the main features of Ireland’s strategy. A national programme was established with police working with community based family support organisations. Prevention and awareness programmes are one of the parts of our programme. This includes more than information sharing, but also building skills and resilience. We also support diversion programmes and family support for young people. For treatment, we want to move people onto a drug free life when achievable. This includes the provision of opioid substitution treatment. We provide a pathway into services.

    We also have poly-drug use, with both licit and illicit substances.

    Social integration can also be an important challenge. Our rehabilitation service includes housing, education, employment initiatives, treatment, etc.

    Ireland is committed to the Political Declaration and continuing the debate and dialogue on drugs issues. I also look further ahead of the 2016 UNGASS. The promotion and protection of human rights underpins Ireland’s policy. We reiterate our opposition of the use of the death penalty under any circumstance.

    We also promote partnership with all, including civil society. It has been crucial for Ireland for our policies from local to international level. We call for the participation of civil society at the CND and in UNGASS preparatory processes.

  • Report – Drug-related deaths in the UK

    Posted on February 12th, 2014 TimB No comments

    This thirteenth annual report from the national programme on Substance Abuse Deaths (np-SAD)  presents information on drug-related deaths that occurred during 2011 and for which coronial inquests  and similar formal investigations have been completed. The Programme’s principal function is to provide  high-quality and consistent surveillance, and to detect and identify emerging trends and issues in respect  of this phenomenon. In this way, it contributes to the reduction and prevention of drug-related deaths in
    the UK due to the misuse of both licit and illicit drugs.

    The data and analysis in this report is intended to inform government, and relevant bodies, such as the  Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, and authorities at the local, regional, and national country  levels, as well as health professionals and the general public, about the serious consequences of drug  abuse.



  • Drug Related Deaths

    Posted on January 27th, 2014 TimB No comments



    In the eight-year period 2004–2011 a total of 4,606 deaths by drug poisoning and deaths among drug users met the criteria for inclusion in the NDRDI database. Of these deaths, 2,745 were due to poisoning and 1,861 were deaths among drug users (non-poisoning) (Table 1).

    The annual number of deaths in 2011 increased to 607, compared to 597 in 2010. The 2011 figure is likely to be revised when new data become available (Table 1)




  • Speech by Alex White TD Minister of State at the Department of Health with responsibility for Primary Care National Drugs Strategy Conference Dublin Castle

    Posted on January 20th, 2014 TimB No comments

    16th January 2014, 9.45am

    Good morning Ladies and Gentleman. I am very pleased so many of you have been able to join us this morning, especially people who have travelled some distance to be here. Today’s conference is designed to offer a practical opportunity for the advancement of our common goals and objectives, and I am sure it will be of great benefit to us all.

    Can I, at the outset, thank the Tánaiste, Eamon Gilmore, for his introductory remarks and for agreeing to open our conference this morning; I’m delighted he was able to join us given his busy schedule. I am extremely grateful for his commitment, and that of the Government, to the National Drugs Strategy, and I thank him for his words of encouragement as we face into our morning’s work.

    Today’s conference is the culmination of an extended period of consultation and reflection. My intention is that it will afford us all the chance to reflect on how we can collaborate effectively under our new structures, and begin to plan for how best we can address new and emerging issues in drug addiction and alcohol misuse.

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  • Groin injecting among a community-recruited sample of people who inject drugs in Thailand

    Posted on January 17th, 2014 TimB No comments

    Use of the femoral vein for the injection of illicit drugs (i.e. groin injecting) has been linked to various health-related harms, including deep vein thrombosis. However, little is known about the prevalence of groin injecting and factors that predict this practice among people who inject drugs (PWID) in Thailand. The researchers sought to investigate the prevalence and factors associated with groin injecting in Bangkok, Thailand.

    Over one-third of our sample of Thai PWID reported recent groin injecting. Frequent midazolam injection and higher education were found to be associated with groin injecting. That high intensity drug users were more likely to inject in the groin is concerning given the known negative consequences associated with the groin as a site of injection. Additionally, PWID who reported drug planting by police were more likely to inject in the groin, suggesting that reliance on law enforcement approaches may undermine safe injection practices in this setting. These findings highlight the need for evidence-based interventions to address the harms associated with groin injecting including efforts to alert PWID to risks of groin injecting, the distribution of appropriate injecting equipment, and efforts to encourage use of other injecting sites.



  • Supervised injection sites come to Montreal

    Posted on January 16th, 2014 TimB No comments

    Montreal will soon be home to four supervised injection sites. The sites, announced in December 2013, will include three permanent locations in already existing clinics across the city, as well as one mobile clinic to serve the Montreal area.

    The news comes after a decade-long struggle between the Canadian federal government and the Quebec-based organizations that have been advocating for supervised injection sites (SIS) in Montreal ever since the first site, Insite Vancouver, was established in 2003.

    SISs are places where injection-drug users can go to obtain clean needles and dispose of used ones. Additionally, social workers and on-site emergency medical attention are available to users if needed. These sites are part of an approach known as harm reduction, which involves programs that provide safe spaces and medical services for drug users in a nonjudgmental and non-coercive manner.

    Since its inception, Insite has operated under an exemption to the Controlled Drug and Substances Act, allowing it to legally provide help to drug users.

    Inspired by Insite, Montreal-based organizations, such as Association pour la Défense des Droits et l’Inclusion des personnes qui Consomment des drogues du Québec (ADDICQ) and CACTUS Montreal, began campaigning for SISs in 2003. However, they were unable to obtain the same exemption that Insite was given, and thus had little hope of creating the sites. In 2011, the Supreme Court ruled that Insite was a necessary service, said Sylvain Côté of ADDICQ, a community-based organization that provides support for injection drug users.

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