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  • Drug Treatment Figures increase in Ireland

    Posted on April 13th, 2015 TimB No comments

    A report in the Irish Examiner  highlights a nationwide surge in the abuse of benzodiazepines and cannabis — and the spread of heroin outside Dublin — has driven drug treatment figures upwards over the last five years.

    The Government has been accused of adopting a “head in the sand” approach to the problem and criticised for a continuing delay in introducing laws controlling the supply and possession of legal tranquillisers.

    Garda sources said that organised crime gangs have moved in to control the supply of the lucrative trade in benzodiazepines (tranquillisers) and so-called z-drugs (hypnotics), while health researchers report that a third of all overdoses involve benzodiazepines.

    Official statistics show a rise of almost 25% in the total number of people treated for illegal drug use between 2009 and 2013, increasing from 6,668 to 8,259.

    Figures gathered by the Health Research Board for the main drug of abuse-level users show that the biggest increases are for benzodiazepines (up 175%, from 261 in 2009 to 719 in 2013), and cannabis (up 61%, from 1,531 to 2,460).

    Opiates — in most cases heroin — rose by 4% from 4,013 to 4,189, but this reflected a fall in Dublin (from 2,360 to 2,100) and a 26% rise outside Dublin (from 1,653 to 2,089).

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  • Drug-related deaths and deaths among drug users in Ireland

    Posted on December 17th, 2014 TimB No comments

    In the nine-year period 2004–2012 a total of 5,289 deaths by drug poisoning and deaths among drug users met the criteria for inclusion in the NDRDI database.

    • Of these deaths, 3,112 were due to poisoning and 2,177 were deaths among drug users (non-poisoning) (Table 1).
    • There were 633 deaths in 2012, compared to 645 in 2011. Despite this decrease the overall trend for the reporting period is upwards (Table 1). The 2012 figure is likely to be revised upwards when new data become available.
    • Deaths due to polydrug use have increased by 60% over the reporting period from 118 in 2004 to 189 in 2012 (Figure 3).

     

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  • Report on Hepatitis C Notifications Quarter 3 2013 – Health Protection Surveillance Centre

    Posted on May 2nd, 2014 TimB No comments

    There were 225 notifications of hepatitis C in quarter 3 2013. This corresponds to a crude notification rate of 4.9 per 100,000 population. This is slightly higher than the 187 cases notified in Q2, but similar to Q1 (n=248). Hepatitis C notifications decreased significantly in 2012 (18%) and in 2013 to date (18%).

    Information on most likely risk factor was available for 58% (n=131) of cases in Q3. Seventy percent (n=91) of these were injecting drug users

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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.

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  • 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.

  • Health officials issue guidance for providers in diagnosing Anthrax in Injecting Drug Users

    Posted on October 6th, 2013 TimB No comments

    The aim of this guidance is to assist clinicians in Ireland in clinical and microbiological assessment of suspected cases of infection with B. anthracis in IDUs. Due to the nature of the infection in heroin users, clinicians should consider the following as possible presentations of anthrax and discuss the case immediately with their local microbiologist.

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  • Drug policy profiles — Ireland

    Posted on March 3rd, 2013 TimB No comments

     

     

    The national drug policy of Ireland comes under the spotlight in the second volume in the EMCDDA series of Drug policy profiles. Examining the evolution of Irish drug policy through four periods of historic development, the report explores: the country’s national strategies; the legal context within which they operate; the public funds spent, or committed, to implement them; and the political bodies and mechanisms set up to coordinate the response to the problem.

    The profile sets this information in context by outlining the size, wealth and economic situation of the country as a whole, as well as the historical development of the current policy. Also described is the manner in which events in Ireland bear similarities with, and differences from, developments in other European countries.

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  • Drug-related deaths and deaths among drug users in Ireland

    Posted on February 6th, 2013 TimB No comments

    The Irish National Drug-Related Deaths Index (NDRDI) is an epidemiological database which records cases of death by drug and alcohol poisoning, and deaths among drug users and those who are alcohol dependent. The  NDRDI is maintained by the Health Research Board (HRB). It is jointly funded by the Department of Health and  the Department of Justice and Equality.

    Alcohol consumption has been reported as the third most detrimental risk factor for ill health and premature death in Europe. Official figures show 2010 recorded the first major drop in drug deaths following a rise in fatalities between 2004 and 2009.

    Dr Suzi Lyons of the Health Research Board said falls in heroin and cocaine deaths were the “main drivers” in the overall reduction in poisonings.

    “The overall trend across Europe is one of reductions in drug deaths. Between 2004 and 2009, we’ve seen numbers of deaths increasing. This is the first major decrease.” She said the figures for 2011 would show if this was a trend or whether 2010 was a one-off. She said a heroin drought in late 2010 could have led to a misleading drop in heroin deaths. She said there had been a “significant drop” in cocaine deaths in recent years, from a high of 66 in 2007 to 20.

    Dr Lyons said alcohol was the country’s biggest problem drug and the one most commonly treated. She said the number of deaths remained “consistently high”.

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  • EU drug markets report: a strategic analysis

    Posted on February 1st, 2013 TimB No comments

    The EU drug markets report is the first comprehensive overview of illicit drug markets in the European Union. It covers issues such as production, consumer markets, trafficking, organised crime and policy responses, along with a review of the markets for heroin, cocaine, cannabis, amphetamine, methamphetamine, ecstasy and new psychoactive substances. It concludes with concrete action points for the areas where the current EU response to the drug market and its consequent harms may be improved.

    An essential reference tool for law enforcement professionals, policymakers, the academic community and the general public, the report combines Europol’s strategic and operational understanding of trends and developments in organised crime with the EMCDDA’s ongoing monitoring and analysis of the drug phenomenon in Europe and beyond.

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  • Safer injecting facilities in Ireland

    Posted on September 30th, 2012 TimB No comments

     

    This presentation was presented at University College Cork on Wednesday 26th September. All the documents highlighted in the presentation are hyperlinked to assist in the accessing further resources

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