The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) is publishing this series of profiles with the aim of describing some of the main characteristics of national drug policies in Europe and beyond. In contrast to other approaches, we do not attempt to assess these policies, but instead to outline their development and main features. Our objective is to help readers — from researchers to policymakers — gain a better understanding of the way in which countries control drugs and respond to drug-related security, social and health problems.
National drug policies are the result of the interaction of multiple factors, such as political and administrative structures, the role and influence of stakeholders, financial resources, the drug situation, other public policies (e.g. health, security) and international agreements. There is no model for how to combine these factors and assess their respective weight and interrelations. However, this should not prevent
analysts from exploring the significant changes in these factors that may have shaped drug policy in the short and long term. This series uses a historical perspective to identify such drug policy changes. While some of these changes may have occurred in parallel in many countries because they were facing the same issues (e.g. the adoption of new UN conventions, HIV/AIDS epidemics, diffusion of new drugs), this series of policy profiles will also show that each country has its specific drug policy timeline.

Drug policy profiles — Ireland, 2012

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