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Alan Shatter, Fine Gael

Dail

Question from Brian Boru
19/10/2012 - 20:57

Hi, Hope you are well. I would like to know the total cost and breakdown of implementing the "war on drugs" specifically to the use of hemp in ireland. How much does it cost in terms of keeping convicted criminals in prison, cost resources to the gardai to implement the law, the cost of dealing with hemp related cases in the courts, promotion and education to people regarding the misuse of hemp, the cost to hospital care of treatment of those addicted to hemp. Best regards, Brian Boru

Answer from Alan Shatter

24/01/2013 - 11:30

Dear Sir,

I am directed by the Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Mr. Alan Shatter T.D.,
to reply to your recent e-mail concerning the estimated total costs associated with national drug policy. On behalf of the Minister I can advise you of the following. The problem of drug misuse in Ireland is tackled in a coordinated and integrated way under the National Drugs Strategy 2009-2016 which was developed following a very broad and open public process of consultation across the country. The Strategy seeks to address the harm caused to individuals and society by drug misuse by tackling the problem in a comprehensive and integrated way by implementing what is known as a pillar based approach which incorporates a wide range of drug supply reduction, prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and research measures. The Strategy is being delivered, under the stewardship of Minister of State at the Department of Health Alex White T.D., by a range of Government Departments and agencies and in partnership with the community and voluntary drug treatment sectors. The involvement of this Department and that of An Garda Síochána under the Strategy is primarily (although not solely) concerned with the drug supply reduction pillar.

The range of actions set out in the Strategy, of which there are 63, continues to facilitate a planned and monitored approach to achieving the overall strategic objective and aims of our national drug policy.

While data of the nature sought concerning expenditure in this area broken down against individual controlled substances such as cannabis is not readily available what may be of assistance to you is the expenditure data which is periodically collated by the Department of Health, in its capacity as the lead Department with responsibility for the National Drugs Strategy.

This exercise is undertaken for the purpose of determining the estimated overall expenditure by Government Departments and agencies which can be deemed to be directly attributable to drugs related programmes. The attached table provides details of the expenditure data, as provided to the Department of Health, for the period 2008-2011 inclusive in respect of costs incurred by this Department and by the wider criminal justice sector in this regard. As you will appreciate, it is difficult to provide figures that would be any more precise than an estimate of total expenditure as all of the relevant bodies will, as part of their day to day work, spend time and resources dealing with drug related issues.

Estimate of expenditure attributable to Drugs related

programmes 2008-2011 (Criminal Justice Sector)
|--------------+----------+-----------+----------+----------|
|Department/ |2008 |2009 |2010 |2011 |
|Agency |Expenditur|Expenditure|Expenditur|Expenditur|
| |e |€m |e |e |
| |€m | |€m |€m |
| | | | | |
|--------------+----------+-----------+----------+----------|
|Department of |10.192 |12.575 |12.350 |17.025 |
|Justice & | | | | |
|Equality | | | | |
|--------------+----------+-----------+----------+----------|
|Probation |2.148 |2.226 |2.128 |1.643* |
|Service | | | | |
|--------------+----------+-----------+----------+----------|
|An Garda |44.400 |45.004 |44.500 |45.014 |
|Síochána | | | | |
|--------------+----------+-----------+----------+----------|
|Irish Prison |5.000 |5.000 |5.200 |5.200 |
|Service | | | | |
|--------------+----------+-----------+----------+----------|

* Please note that as of 1 January 2011 a number of community based projects previously under the auspices of the Probation Service were transferred to be under the remit of the Irish Youth Justice Service with an accompanying transfer of funding.

Finally, further information with regard to the National Drugs Strategy is available on the Department of Health's website at http://www.dohc.ie/about_us/divisions/drugs_policy_unit.html

I trust that the above is of assistance.

Yours sincerely

__________________

Private Secretary to the

Minister for Justice and Equality