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Drugs and Alcohol

Home Sectors Drugs and Alcohol


Tackling the misuse of drugs and the misuse of alcohol is an ongoing challenge across the eight Member Administrations of the British-Irish Council. The Drugs and Alcohol Work Sector continues to explore areas of shared interest across these islands. The highlights real experience and encourages the involvement of people with lived experiences of alcohol and drugs misuse, focuses on community action, and looks at the impact of drugs use in prison and how to address this.

Lead Administration

The Drugs and Alcohol Work Sector was established at the inaugural meeting of the British-Irish Council in December 1999 in London. It is currently chaired by the Government of Ireland.

Current Focus

In January 2024, Ministers agreed a new programme for the British-Irish Council Drugs and Alcohol Work Sector, at a meeting hosted by the Government of Ireland in Dublin.

The work sector’s focus going forward is to be on:

  • Supporting the involvement of people with lived and living experience in drug services.
  • Addressing drug use in prison.
  • Health-led approaches to sanctions for people in possession of drugs for personal use.
  • Community action on alcohol (including collaboration with World Health Organisation European framework on action on alcohol 2022-25).
  • Peer reviews on topical drug and alcohol issues.