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HSE Emerging Drug Trends and Safer Nightlife Event


As part of the launch of our new campaign 'If you go, go slow' we hosted an event and panel discussion on the topic of emerging drug trends and safer nightlife on the 22nd of October.

We brought together community of key stakeholders to discuss the current drug landscape and safer nightlife responses which could help reduce harms in Ireland. The panellists were Nicki Killeen, HSE National Social Inclusion Office, Sophie Ridley, Event Safety Coordinator, Robbie Kitt, Musician and DJ, Somhairle Brennan, The Union of Students in Ireland, Welfare Officer and Craig Connolly, Director at District. Topics of discussion included the Irish nightlife scene with a focus on the current drug landscape, the return of nightlife, trends of concern such as increasing levels of poly use and the importance of collaboration moving forward in 2022. 

In response to drug use in nightlife settings, the health and events sector need to collaborate moving forward on areas such as environmental prevention, peer support, improving research/data gathering and ways to reduce stigma and encourage help seeking behaviour in cases of emergency.

Speaking at the campaign launch, Nicki Killeen, HSE Social Inclusion, said: “The reopening of nightlife is an exciting time, but we are concerned that people may be at greater risk due to time off from using drugs, as tolerance levels may have changed. This means they could be at a greater risk of overdose. While it’s safer not to use drugs at all, we want to remind people of the practical steps they can take to reduce the harms to their health.”

The event and campaign is in response to recent recommendations from the HSE “Emerging Drugs Trends Report Working Group Report 2021’. The report reviews drug use and health responses among people who use drugs in nightlife spaces. It recognises that an emerging stimulant and polydrug culture among new user groups is currently a major issue of concern across Europe and here in Ireland.

Dr Eamon Keenan, HSE’s National Clinical Lead-Addiction Services, said: “For some time, the topic of substance use in the context of nightlife settings has received little attention in research, policy and practice. The proliferation of stimulant drugs in Ireland is occurring during a period when increased purity and potency of substances is a cause of concern for health services. Our report identifies a need to improve research and develop new services in response to these trends. Nightlife outreach and drug analysis are recognised ways in which we can engage with young, hard to reach populations. This campaign is an important step forward to improving the provision of information and support to young people to minimise the harms to their health.”

Event video

Watch our event video with input from District Magazine and the Union of Students in Ireland here.


Posted by on 11/03 at 05:28 PM in
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The HSE and Union of Students in Ireland (USI) ask students to think about drug safety measures when using club drugs
Harm reduction messages from the #SaferStudentNights campaign.
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