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.

Terms of Reference

Terms of Reference Sub-committees

In addition to the NACD Committee, the NACD established a sub-committee structure to facilitate the development and implementation of its work programme, some of whose members are co-opted because of their expertise or relevance. Membership of some committees overlaps with some members serving on more than one committee (For details of members see Appendix 1).

The current work programme of the NACD, set out below, has guided the actions of the Committee, its sub-committees and staff.

Inventory of Research and Information

  • To compile a comprehensive inventory of existing research, information and data sets relating to early warning and emerging trends, prevalence, prevention, treatment/rehabilitation, and consequences of drug misuse in Ireland.

Improved co-ordination of Research and Data Collection

  • To open communication channels with key agencies to ensure that the NACD is kept informed of any new research being undertaken or new data being collected
  • To establish a research network which will ensure better co-ordination and integration of research projects among relevant agencies and maximize resources in the context of the NACD’s programme of research.


The aim of the Consequences sub-committee is to examine the impact of drug problems on society in terms of:

  • drug related deaths
  • the effect of drugs on the family and communities
  • the relationship between drugs and crime
  • the methods for tackling social nuisance related to drug misuse

Early Warning Emerging Trends

The aim of the Early Warning and Emerging Trends sub-committee is:

  • To receive, share and monitor on behalf of the NACD, information from National and EU sources on New Psychoactive Substances of concern in the context of the Council Decision of 2005/387/JHA on information exchange, risk assessment and control of new psychoactive substances
  • To receive, share and monitor on behalf of the NACD, information on emerging trends and patterns in drug use particularly poly drug use and associated risks
  • To monitor the work on emerging trends being developed at EU level (EMCDDA responsibility), to consider its implementation in Ireland
  • To monitor the reports to the Early Warning System on a quarterly basis about emerging trends and New Psychoactive Substances, but more frequently if circumstances warrant it
  • To examine new ways of getting sensitive information on changing patterns of drug use and trends
    To consider the implications of changing drug markets and distribution networks which can impact on the popularity of certain psychoactive substances
  • To review the risk assessment reports provided by the EMCDDA and determine their relevance to the Irish situation and advise Government accordingly


The aim of the Prevalence sub-committee is:

  • To determine the size and nature of drug problems in Ireland
  • To determine the extent and nature of opiate use, poly-drug use and patterns of drug use (experimental, occasional, regular, non-medical and problem use) particularly among young people under 25
  • To identify emerging trends and geographical spread
  • To determine the extent and nature of problem use of prescription drugs
  • To determine the prevalence of drug misusers not in contact with treatment services


The aim of the Prevention sub-committee is:

  • To examine the effectiveness in terms of impact and outcomes of existing prevention models and programmes, with particular regard to evaluation instruments developed at European level
  • To undertake comparative studies of different models with particular reference to those in operation in Local Drug Task Force (LDTF) areas
  • To determine transferability of models among different target groups


The aim of the Treatment/Rehabilitation sub-committee is:

  • To examine the effectiveness in terms of impact and outcomes of existing treatment and rehabilitation models and programmes
  • To examine the impact of the treatment setting
  • To examine the context in which relapse occurs
  • To undertake longitudinal studies of the effectiveness of existing treatment and rehabilitation models


Terms of Reference Research Advisory Groups

The primary role of the Research Advisory Group is to guide and manage research projects from inception to completion.  Terms of reference will therefore include the following:

  1. Monitor and support the research through each stage of development
  2. Agree the project objectives document.
  3. Inform the research process and agree the development or enhancement/changes to the design
  4. Provide practical advice where difficulties emerge during the various stages of research
  5. Ensure ethical approval is obtained where necessary from the relevant research ethics committee.
  6. Observe the publication and copyright policy of the NACD as stated in the NACD contracts
  7. Oversee the project management of the research tracking milestones and progress
  8. Review drafts of progress and final reports providing feedback where appropriate re the needs of the NACD in terms of content for consideration and publication
  9. Report to the NACD and the appropriate sub-committee on progress of research projects

Sign off on the final draft of the report to be submitted to the NACD for approval and agreement on recommendations to be made to Government


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