Students Unions renew drug harm reduction effort

College Tribune: Poliics editor Oisín MacCanna on a new initiative to reduce the harm caused by recreational drug use

 

The use of psychoactive drugs by young people in Ireland between the ages of 15-24 is the highest in Europe. The comparative level of drug use by Irish young people was revealed in a recent report from the Health Services Authority. The report highlights how drugs such as ecstasy, cocaine or ketamine are most popular in Ireland than in any other European country. The UCD Students Union, and the national Union of Students have re-confirmed they will advocate for a harm reduction approach to drug use.

Minister of State for Health and Dublin South Central TD Catherine Byrne officially launched a new information campaign recently with students being the specific target demographic. The campaign was originally developed by the Union of Students of Ireland in partnership with Drugs.ie and the HSE.  The information and awareness campaign focuses on harm reduction as well as also taking aim at young adults who use new psychoactive substances.

In addition to established drugs such as MDMA, available indicators suggest that there are no signs of slowdown in the number, type or availability of new substances used in the recreational nightlife scene. These include the wide variety of new psychoactive substances designed to mimic established illicit drugs such as cannabis, cocaine, methamphetamine, MDMA and LSD.

Manufacturers of these ‘head shop’ substances develop new chemicals at an alarming rate to replace those that are banned in order to stay ahead of the law. As the availability of new substances has increased so have the serious harms associated with their use particularly acute poisonings sometimes resulting in death. These substances also cause other unwanted physical and psychological side effects.

To read the rest of this article please follow this link: http://on.irishtimes.com/xgDsgjF

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