Minister Shortall chairs British Irish Council Ministerial Meeting on the Misuse of Drugs

29 June 2012

Roisin Shortall T.D., Minister of State with responsibility for Primary Care in the Department of Health, today chaired a Ministerial Meeting of the British-Irish Council Sectoral Group on the Misuse of Drugs in St Helier, Jersey. The Ministers had a substantive discussion on Young People and Drugs - Breaking the Cycle and also considered expanding the role of the Group to include issues pertaining to alcohol.

Among the issues raised by Ministers were evidence of trends in drug use among young people, general and targeted prevention measures, early intervention and broader treatment issues. There was particular focus on the need to support young people whose parents are involved in drug use.

Minister Shortall said: "The interaction and co-operation between the Ministers of Member Administrations of the British-Irish Council Group is most useful in informing policy formulation in the individual administrations. The information shared on the degree of success of various initiatives, as well as on plans for future measures, will help to ensure more effective initiatives by all".

The meeting also provided an opportunity for Ministers to discuss issues around the use and misuse of alcohol in their administrations. This arises in the context of proposals for the possible expansion of the work of the Group to include alcohol.

Minister Shortall said: "The Member Administrations of the British-Irish Council are experiencing similar problems to Ireland around alcohol use and misuse. The opportunity for discussion is timely, given that various approaches to tackle the issue are currently being explored by a number of Administrations. As we move towards a combined substance misuse strategy in Ireland, I look forward to the opportunity to consider drugs and alcohol issues at British-Irish Council level, especially in view of the extent of alcohol-linked problems and the degree of prevalence of polydrug use among all our populations".

For further information on the British Irish Council please visit www.britishirishcouncil.org.