HSE Drugs.ie, the Health Research Board and the EU drugs agency (EMCDDA) are asking people who use drugs to complete a new survey that will help shape the future of drug policies and interventions in Europe.

Targeted at people aged 18 and over, who have used drugs in the last 12 months, the survey aims to improve understanding of patterns of drug use in 30 countries.

The anonymous survey asks people about the types of drugs they use, and why and how they use them. This will provide valuable insight into drug use patterns and the diverse groups who use drugs in Ireland, including the use of psychedelic mushrooms and nitrous oxide which are trends generally less explored.

We work closely with the Health Service Executive on harm reduction improvements and we’re a member of the ‘Emerging Drug Trend and Drug Checking Working Group’ to review harm reduction approaches used in nightlife settings internationally. A report on this area will be published later this year.

Nicki Killeen, HSE National Social Inclusion Office: “We are generally well informed about people who attend addiction services and have focused less on other groups such as people who use drugs as part of nightlife or subcultural scenes. We know that these groups may never present to the current service structures and that new harm reduction approaches are needed in Ireland. It is important that we don’t make assumptions about people behaviours which is why more frequent research on different populations who use drugs is important.

COVID may have changed the types of drugs people use and how. What this survey will give us is a chance to learn about patterns, trends and emerging needs that will help to create interventions and harm reduction supports into the future.

The results of this survey will help us to form a current understanding of the situation in Ireland. Under the National Drugs Strategy, we are reviewing a range of ways to help us understand drug use such as drug checking services, waste water epidemiology, syringe analysis, hospital data and web surveys to improve harm reduction and risk communications.”

The survey will be open for Irish participation for a 6 week period starting today. The final results will be used to inform EU and Irish reports this summer, which will be shared with Four Four readers.

Share your experiences and take part here.

For information and support relating to your own or someone else’s drug use, go to www.drugs.ie or Freephone the HSE Helpline on 1800 459 459 Monday – Friday 9:30 – 5:30 or email helpline@hse.ie.

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