Visit of Irish delegation to the EMCDDA

Today, Mr James Browne, Minister of State at the Department of Justice, paid a visit to the EMCDDA where he met Director, Alexis Goosdeel.

The delegation toured the agency’s premises amidst preparations underway for the launch of the new European Union Drugs Agency (EUDA) on 2 July.

Mr Goosdeel provided an overview of the EMCDDA's history and the upcoming tasks of the EUDA. He explained how the EUDA would achieve its new goals under a new service model (‘anticipate, alert, respond and learn’).

Among the topics discussed at the meeting were the multi-faceted challenges of the drugs problem today from both the health and security/justice perspective. Mr Browne explained how the issue was dealt with in Ireland, the rationale and advantages of this approach, as well as challenges faced. He also underlined the importance of including mental health and comorbidty in any response to drug-related problems.

Mr Goosdeel expressed his admiration of, and interest in, the participatitve approach Ireland had taken with the Citizens Assembly on Drug Use. Both Mr Browne and Mr Goosdeel agreed on the importance of not neglecting the community and, in particular community policing, in order for Member States to be able to effectively respond to drug-related issues.

Finally, the issue of the fentanyl situation in the US and Canada was discussed. Mr Goosdeel expained the factors which differentiated the North American situation from that of Europe, including the root causes and the different health and social responses on both continents. He also stressed that, while there was no certainty that the fentanyl problem would be replicated in Europe, vigilance and preparedness were crucial.