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.

Community groups generate innovative research on local drug issues

Monday 4th October 2004

Four community research reports funded under the National Advisory Committee on Drugs’ (NACD) Community / Voluntary Sector Research Grant Scheme were launched today [Monday 4.10.04] by Mr Noel Ahern, TD, Minister of State for the National Drug Strategy at a conference on ‘Exploring Drug Issues Through Community Research’. Nearly 200 people from the community and voluntary sector around the country will discuss key findings and recommendations put forward in the reports in relation to local drug issues.

The four research projects funded by the scheme were the Ballymun Youth Action Project (BYAP), the Kilbarrack Coast Community Programme (KCCP), Merchants Quay Ireland (MQI) and the Tallaght Homeless Advice Unit (THAU).

Opening the conference today, Minster Noel Ahern congratulated the projects on their achievement in producing valuable research reports. He said “the issues will feed into the current midterm review of the National Drug Strategy.”

Dr Des Corrigan, Chairperson, NACD said

"We intended that the research grant scheme would generate innovative, community-based drugs research and inform gaps in our knowledge and contribute to the development of public policy. These four reports are an excellent example of what can be achieved through funding community based research. I wish to acknowledge the support of the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs in facilitating the funding for this grant scheme"

Despite examining diverse issues, a common thread emerging across all reports is that the continued enhancement of services and commitment to education is vital at a local level. The findings of these research reports provide the knowledge and information necessary for this. The four research projects examine the following issues:

  • Ballymun Youth Action Project (BYAP)
    This report studies the role of benzodiazepines in the development of substance misuse problems in Ballymun. The report also explores the dynamics of supply and demand in a local context, and highlights the factors that allow the continuance of a relatively high level of benzodiazepine use within the community. The report makes a series of recommendations including strategies that may facilitate change. Primarily, it stresses the need to invest in the development of services to complement medical practitioners and develop non-pharmaceutical supports for benzodiazepine detoxification and alternatives to benzodiazepine therapy.
  • Kilbarrack Coast Community Programme (KCCP)
    This study establishes the patterns and trends of drug misuse in the Kilbarrack area by young people aged 10 – 17 and examines their attitudes to drug use, and the risk factors accompanying their use. The study also assesses the drug use among a sample of early school leavers and examines the views of community members on the drug situation in the area. Representing a socially mixed area, the research is important in providing an indication of drug use and attitudes to drugs of young people in similar suburban communities around the country. The report makes a series of recommendations including an examination of the feasibility of a Pilot Project in Kilbarrack bringing together schools, sporting organisations, community and voluntary groups in partnership with the statutory agencies, particularly the health board to tackle drug use by young people. The continued development and implementation of effective approaches to drug education is also recommended.
  • Merchants Quay Ireland (MQI)
    This exploratory study examines the patterns of drug use among new communities; explores the reasons and motivations for drug use; establishes risks the users may be exposed to; examines the level of awareness of health promotion / harm minimisation strategies and drug treatment services; and identifies barriers to accessing services. The Report includes a series of recommendations to assist drug services in responding to the needs of drug users from new communities. In particular, the Report recommends the need to provide accessible and culturally appropriate services.
  • Tallaght Homeless Advice Unit (THAU)
    This research examines the links between homelessness and drug use and the nature of drug use amongst the homeless population in Tallaght. It also explores the reasons behind their homelessness; examines the policies and practices of local authorities in relation to the housing of homeless drug users; and explores the experiences of homeless drug users with special reference to the policies and practices of homeless services. Primary among the recommendations made by the research is the need to recognise the links between homelessness and drug use at policy and service delivery levels.

Following the launch of the scheme in 2001, the NACD received over 100 enquiries and 35 applications from across the country. The scheme was developed with monitoring and support mechanisms built in at all stages from initial application to the conclusion of the research studies, to ensure research was conducted to the highest methodological standards.


Community / Voluntary Sector Reports

For further information:

Jane O’Dwyer (086 6491408) / Pat Montague (087 2549123) at Montague Communications, Tel. 01 8377960

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