National Advisory Committee on Drugs and Alcohol

The NACDA was established in response to the drug problem to assist in our continued need to improve our knowledge and understanding of problem drug use.

The goal of the NACDA is to advise the Government on problem drug use in Ireland in relation to prevalence, prevention consequences and treatment based on our analysis and interpretation of research findings.

About the NACD


The NACD was established in July 2000 under the auspices of the Department of Tourism, Sport and Recreation to conduct, commission and analyse research on issues relating to drugs and to advise Government on policy development in the area. Since 2011, the NACD falls under the auspices of the Department of Health.

The establishment of the NACD followed a two-year developmental phase during which an interim group was convened to make recommendations and devise a three-year work programme of research and evaluation. The Government accepted these recommendations and the NACD was established to implement the work programme.

The Committee reports to the Minister of State at the Department of Health with special responsibility for Primary Care who also has responsibility for the National Drugs Strategy (interim) 2009-2016. Its goal is to advise the Government in relation to prevalence, prevention, treatment/rehabilitation and consequences of problem drug use in Ireland based on its analysis of research findings and information available to it.

The mandate was renewed in 2005 following an external evaluation by Talbot Associates. In 2009, the mandate was further renewed up to December 31 2011. The research and information actions for which the NACD has lead responsibility are set out in the National Drugs Strategy (interim) 2009- 2016.

Since it was established, the NACD has published over 70 reports and has built up a strong reputation - both nationally and internationally - for producing high quality, professional material and data on a range of difficult and complex issues relating to the drug problem in Ireland.

What is the NACD?

Gathering information, developing knowledge and building understanding of why some people develop drug problems and others do not is essential. We need to know what to do, when to do it and how, if we are to make any difference to the lives of people affected by drug misuse.

The NACD established a sub-committee structure to facilitate the development and implementation of its work programme. These sub-committees are listed below:

  • Consequences: The impact of drug use on individuals, families and communities.
  • Early Warning & Emerging Trends: Linked to the EMCDDA, alerts us to new synthetic drugs and monitors trends in drug use.
  • Prevalence: How many people use drugs, what types of drugs, at what age, and in what areas.
  • Prevention: Activities aimed at reducing drug use in the general and specific population(s)
  • Treatment/Rehabilitation: Activities aimed at changing or modifying behaviour to reduce drug use, harm and prevent relapse
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