Press Release

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