Meeting of EU National Drug Co-ordinators
Alex White, T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Health, hosted a meeting of the EU National Drug Co-ordinators in Dublin Castle on Monday and Tuesday 8th and 9th April as part of the Irish Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
The meeting brought together drug policy formulators from Member States and EU Institutions. The theme of the meeting was
“From Use to Recovery: Experiences and Future Approaches in Drug Policy”
Speakers from Ireland’s Statutory, Community and Voluntary sectors addressed the meeting, covering a range of topics including drug prevalence in Ireland; drug treatment provision; rehabilitation; and Irish legislation to tackle drugs supply in Ireland – all with a focus on policy issues. Delegates from across the EU Member States and EU Institutions also provided valuable contributions and responses covering drugs policy across the EU.
In referring to the agreement reached on an EU Drug Strategy for 2013-2020, Minister White said: “The Irish Presidency recognise that this is a very important time for drugs policy at EU level and one of our priorities is to finalise agreement on the EU Action Plan on Drugs 2013-2016 which will facilitate the implementation of the Strategy up to 2016.”
While Minister White referred to the complexities and difficulties of the drug phenomenon which he said is truly global in nature, he also spoke of the problems being experienced by individuals, families and communities on the ground. He spoke of his responsibility for the implementation of the Irish National Drugs Strategy, and the structures established to maximise the chances of the 63 Actions of the National Drugs Strategy being implemented.
Minister White told delegates: “At EU level too we must address the challenge of ensuring that there is a focus on the implementation of agreed Actions, particularly through the Horizontal Working Party on Drugs, but also through robust links with other EU bodies and through meetings of the EU National Drug Co-ordinators.”
On the worldwide level he added: “If we as the EU can speak with one strong voice at international fora we can really make an impact on the overall global drugs situation.”