What is a Community Drug Problem?

problemDrug use is first and foremost a problem for the individual drug user. A community drug problem emerges when a) there are a significant number of people engaging in problematic drug use in a particular area and b) the community does not have adequate resources to deal with the problems that arise. Read the Citywide conference report - Drugs can we take anymore? (2013)  

A National Advisory Committee on Drugs study in 2006, focused on the development of community indicators that reflect the impact of problem drug use in local communities: A Community Drugs Study: Developing Community Indicators for Problem Drug Use

Problems of individual addiction are compounded in communities by:

  • Availability & range of drug use (poly drug use) including alcohol
  • Visibility/ public drug dealing
  • Familiarity/normality - the normalization of drug use & the ease in which drugs are available
  • Social nuisance/community spaces being used for drug dealing
  • Community safety / intimidation of the local community
  • Community pride/image/social networks disintegrating
  • Lack of resources to respond

In many communities play grounds, parks and recreational areas are taken over by the drugs trade and can become no-go areas. National1 and International2 studies indicate that high levels of unemployment, lower levels of secondary school completion & a high concentration of social housing can leave communities inadequately resourced to deal with these problems.

1. Mayock, P. and Moran R. (2000) Social Issues and Public Attitudes Associated with Drug Misuse in Overview of Drug Issues in Ireland - Resource Document. Dublin. Drug Misuse Research Division, Health Research Board

2. O'Higgins K (1998). Review of the literature and policy on the links between poverty and drug abuse. Dublin: The Economic and Social Research Institute and The Combat Poverty Agency.