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Health | If specific measures are going to address rising drug use among young people

To ask the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the increase in the use of illegal drugs among young people; if any specific measures are likely to address this issue given the seriousness of the problem and the degree to which drug use amongst young people has grown in the past two years; if specific measures are anticipated to deal with this issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

The Health Research Board recently published an overview entitled ‘Alcohol and other drug use among children and young people in Ireland’. Using multiple information sources, this publication outlines the prevalence of alcohol and other drug use among young people in Ireland, examines the risk and protective factors that may encourage or discourage young people to begin using such substances and/or lead to problematic use, and also examines the consequences of drug and alcohol use, such as hospitalisations, death and crime. A link to this overview can be found here:
The consequences of alcohol and drug use on young people’s health and wellbeing can undermine relationships, academic engagement and, sadly, may result in serious injury and death. Young people are the most likely to experiment with drugs and alcohol, and therefore it is important that we collectively address these issues for our young people at the critical junctures in their life.
A priority for the national drugs strategy for the period 2021-2025 is to strengthen the prevention of drug and alcohol use and the associated harms among children and young people.
A strategic implementation group has been set up to deliver on this priority, un the national oversight committee for the national drugs strategy. It’s focus is on prevention, education and awareness of drugs and alcohol use by building the skills and confidence in young people and by encouraging healthy choices and behaviour. Furthermore, the Department of Health is developing a prevention and education funding programme to encourage the development of evidence-based prevention measures on issues relating to drugs and alcohol and young people.
Other measures are also being progressed. The Department of Health and the HSE have developed a pilot drug monitoring programme to be delivered by the HSE at selected music festivals, as a public health response to the harms of drug use in nightlife environments. These proposals are currently being reviewed by An Garda Síochána and I look forward to working with a variety of stakeholders to progress this important work.

I look forward to progressing the work of the strategic implementation group on prevention and education for young people as part of our public health approach to drug use.


Dept of Health

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