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31-10-2008

Citizens' Briefing on EU action plan for drugs

On 31 October, a citizens' briefing was organized on future National and European strategies to combat illegal drug abuse. The aim of the citizens briefing, which was hosted by the European Parliament Office in Ireland, was to inform Irish people of the EU Action Plan for Drugs 2009-2012. Citizens, many involved in drug projects around Ireland, used this opportunity to discuss drug abuse with the attending politicians including Eoin Ryan MEP.

High-level panel of experts to discuss drug abuse

The citizens' briefing saw a high level panel of national and international experts on drugs. Eoin Ryan welcomed John Curran, TD and Minister of State for the National Drug Strategy, and Cllr. Eibhlin Byrne, Lord Mayor of Dublin. Other speakers were Sebastian Saville, British advisor to the EU on drug strategies and executive director of UK based NGO "Release", and the well-known Sunday World crime correspondent Paul Williams. Opening the citizens' briefing, Eoin Ryan presented the "EU Drug Action Plan 2009-2012" which was put forward on 18 September earlier this year. The EU action plan compromises different measures such as improving availability and coverage of treatment and harm reduction programmes for drug users and establishing intelligence-led police and custom operations to counter large-scale organised crime. The action plan also includes launching a process of consultation with the European civil society to work towards the acceptance of European Citizens' Alliance on drugs.
Following the welcome by Eoin Ryan, John Curran outlined the drug strategy of the Irish government and the setting up of a new working group on drugs later this month. Sebastian Saville gave an introduction to the International Drug Policy Consortium, an international network of NGO's and experts that specialises in issues related to illegal drugs, and outlined their demands towards the field of politics.
Lord Mayor Eibhlin Byrne linked the problem of drug abuse to local communities in Dublin, stressing that those using drugs and those pushing drugs into the local communities have to be dealt with in different ways.
Rounding the event up, journalist Paul Williams told the audience about his work as a crime correspondent and outlined the past and present situation of drug abuse and drug related crime in Ireland.

Citizens used their chance to discuss with the experts

The briefing was attended by a large number of citizens, many working in drug prevention programmes in Dublin and around Ireland. They used the opportunity to exchange views with the panel of experts on drug strategies and the problems they are facing within their daily work in drug related projects. They referred to many drug prevention and harm reduction programmes and lobbied for more help from politicians. Eoin Ryan closed the citizens briefing, thanking the participants for their contribution to the discussion and highlighted one of the main findings of the citizens' briefing, the major importance for education to tackle drugs and their harmful effects.


For further information, please contact the European Parliament Office at 01 605 7900