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.

Minister Eoin Ryan, T.D., welcomes First Report of the National Advisory Committee on Drugs

7th December 2001

The first report by the National Advisory Committee on Drugs, entitled 'Drug Use Prevention: An Overview of Research'. was launched today (Friday 7th December, 2001 by Mr. Eoin Ryan TD Minister for Local Development with special responsibility for the National Drugs Strategy.

This report affirmed the key point that there is not one simple answer to the drug problem in Ireland.

"In order to succeed, drug prevention programmes must not function in isolation, but must work in partnership with schools, community groups, families, and youth groups. There is no single effective response to drug misuse - the situation is much more complex than that and concerns the links between problem drug use and various aspects and consequences of social deprivation"

said Minister Ryan.

The review, written by Dr Mark Morgan of St Patricks College, Drumcondra, is based on research of drug misuse and prevention programmes in Ireland and the international context from the 1960s' to present day.

"Drug misuse presents complex problems, but the most serious drug problem in Ireland involves opiates and is largely associated with social and economic deprivation. Addressing this problem requires a comprehensive approach involving family and community factors and also highlights the importance of educational opportunities"

said Dr Morgan.

Minister Ryan continued

"The National Drugs Strategy, 2001 - 2008 proposes to bring misuse by school goers to below the EU average and as a first step, to reduce the level of substance misuse by school goers by 15% by 2003 and 25% by 2007. The value of this Report in achieving this goal is that it will act as a knowledge source and a guide for good practice to all those working in the field of drug prevention".

According to the Report, the relationship between the identification of risk and prevention is critical. If risk factors could be identified which help to pinpoint the causes of drug use, then they could also help to suggest the most appropriate forms of intervention.

The Report highlights that the most effective anti-drugs campaign approaches avoided fear and moral tactics, emphasised the short-term, rather than the long-term, consequences and avoided the use of celebrity spokespeople on the grounds that young people often suspect the extent to which these are genuine.

There is evidence that the probability of a young person developing problems increases directly with the number of risk factors that they experience. In other words, while children may be resilient enough to withstand one influence, if they experience several negative influences, their chances of developing problems increase substantially.

Minister Ryan concluded

"The research undertaken by the National Advisory Committee on Drugs will make a very valuable contribution to the development of drugs policy in Ireland by providing a more focused and integrated approach to the analysis of data."

For Further Information please contact:

Mairéad Lyons
3rd Floor
Shelbourne House
Shelbourne Road
Dublin 4

Tel: +353 1 667 0760 / 0869
Mobile: +353 87 798 0614

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