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Minister White chairs 9th British Irish Council Ministerial Meeting on the Misuse of Substances

Mr. Alex White T.D., Minister of State for Primary Care, with responsibility for the National Drugs Strategy, today (27th June 2014) chaired the 9th Ministerial Meeting of the British-Irish Council Sectoral Group on the Misuse of Substances in Dublin Castle.

The growth in the domestic cultivation of cannabis, the emergence and spread of new psychoactive substances and the misuse of prescription medicines were among the issues discussed at the Ministerial meeting.

The Ministers agreed on the importance of national and international collaboration to intercept and prevent the trafficking of drugs, illicit medicines, new psychoactive substances and drug precursors.

Minister White said: “Since its establishment under the Good Friday Agreement, the British-Irish Council has provided a unique forum for discussion, co-operation, and exchange of information on a wide variety of issues. The Misuse of Substances Sectoral Group, which meets four times a year, provides an opportunity to share best practice and policies to break the cycle of drug misuse and promote recovery. Ireland is very pleased to continue to be the lead administration in this important work”.

This was the first Ministerial meeting of the Misuse of Substances Sectoral Group since alcohol policy was incorporated into its work programme and Minister White said that “it was a timely opportunity for Ministers to share updates on policy developments in this area as Member Administrations are experiencing similar problems to Ireland around alcohol use and misuse”

Minister White welcomed the adoption of the 2014/15 Work Programme which will include a continued focus on prevention and harm reduction, consideration of development and implementation programmes to reduce deaths from overdoses, and tackling the issue of substance misuse in an aging population.

In conclusion, the Minister said: “I look forward to the continuation of the informal links that have built up between the Member Administrations to the benefit of the effort against drug and alcohol misuse in all jurisdictions.”

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Note to Editors

The British-Irish Council was established under the Strand Three Provisions of the 1998 Multi-Party Agreement as a forum for its Members to exchange information, discuss, consult and use best endeavours to reach agreement on co-operation on matters of mutual interest within the competence of relevant Member Administrations. The Irish Government is the lead administration within the Council on the issue of Misuse of Substances.