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.

National Advisory Committee on Drugs awards five research grants for research into problem drug use.

Tuesday 3rd September 2002

Grants will enable organisations to undertake innovative, community-based research.

The National Advisory Committee on Drugs (NACD) has awarded grants of between €20,000 and €25,000 to five organisation to carry out innovative, community-based research into various aspects of problem drug use in Ireland. The Minister with Responsibility for the National Drugs Strategy, Mr. Noel Ahern TD, presented the grants at a reception in the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs' offices in Dublin's' Mespil Road. The research studies will commence this month (September, 2002) and will be completed by the end of June 2003.

The five grant recipients, who were selected from 35 applications, are: Community Response, Dublin 8, who will carry out a study of the viability of an integrated multi-disciplinary service to families affected by problem drug use. The agency works with individuals, families and communities in the south-west inner city on a range of levels from drug awareness to training to health promotion and family support, and seeks to help people determine their own solutions to the complex problems of problem drug use and its consequences. The study will examine the impact of problem drug use on the family; identify the extent to which problem drug users rely on family members and the extent of family resources used to support them, document the needs of family members with a particular focus on women, and assess the effectiveness of services and networks used by families affected by problem drug use.

Ballymun Youth Action Project, who will study of the role of benzodiazepines (tranquillisers) in the development of substance misuse problems in Ballymun. Established in 1991, BYAP offers a range of services on all aspects of drug misuse ranging from work with individuals, families and groups, to education and training courses. The research will investigate the relationship between benzodiazepines, opiates, and other substances in young persons, drug repertoires; describe the dynamics of benzodiazepine supply and demand in local street drug markets; examine the impact of benzodiazepine use on the community; and identify the possible models of prevention and harm reduction that might be effective and appropriate in the community.

Kilbarrack Coast Community Programme, who will carry out action research on drug misuse among 10-17 year olds in the Kilbarrack area. The programme is a drugs rehabilitation and aftercare project based in northeast Dublin, with an emphasis on quality, user-led services for drug users in recovery. The study will seek to establish the patterns and trends of drug misuse in Kilbarrack by young people in the 10 to 17 age group; examine the processes by which young people in the area become involved in drug misuse; identify the current and potential problems which arise from their drug misuse; and assess the extent of knowledge and attitudes of drugs and drug misuse among young people.

Merchants' Quay Ireland, who will carry out an exploratory study into the nature of drug use among three new ethnic minority communities in Ireland. The Merchants Quay Project provides a range of services to people affected by drug use, HIV and homelessness and is committed to minimising the harm associated with drug use to individuals, families and the wider community. The study will examine the patterns of drug use among the new communities and the routes of administration of the drug used; explore the reasons and motivations for drug use; establish risks the users may be exposed to; examine the level of awareness of health promotion / harm minimisation strategies and drug treatment services; and identify barriers to accessing services.

Tallaght Homeless Advice Unit who will examine the links between homelessness and drug use (especially heroin use). THAU works extensively with drug users and advocates on their behalf to statutory and voluntary agencies. The unit is closely linked with the drug support services in the Greater Tallaght area. The research study will examine the nature and extent of drug use amongst the homeless population and explore the reasons behind their homelessness; examine the policies and practices of local authorities in relation to the housing of homeless drug users; explore the experiences of homeless drug users with special reference to the policies and practices of homeless services; and make recommendations aimed at informing policy at government and practice levels.

The Minister of State with Responsibility for the National Drugs Strategy, Noel Ahern, T.D, who presented the grants, explained the overall aim of the Community/Voluntary Sector Research Grant Scheme.

"The purpose of this grant scheme is to help us gain a better understanding of drug related issues in communities, as well as enhancing the capacity of the community and voluntary sector to engage in research and consequently to boost their ability to influence policy and the planning of services."

The NACD was established in July 2000 to advise the Government in relation to problem drug use in Ireland. The Committee, whose members are drawn from statutory, community, voluntary, and academic organisations, as well as relevant Government Departments, has responsibility for overseeing the delivery of a comprehensive 3 year drugs research programme.

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