2017 DATMS Report launches
In 2015 we developed our DATMS in Dublin 15. The objective was to establish a comprehensive evidence base for drug use and misuse in Dublin 15 and use this data to inform local service provision. In order to always have current information and to monitor changes over time the study is repeated annually. We published the first report in 2016 (DATMS Year 1) and this report documents the second year of our DATMS (DATMS Year 2). The DATMS was designed to identify new emerging trends in patterns of drug use; three or more years of data are required in order to verify emerging trends. Therefore, any changes identified in this report require further investigation in subsequent DATMS data collection phases. The DATMS employs a mixed-method design comprised of primary and secondary data sources.
The Blanchardstown Local Drug and Alcohol Task Force (BLDATF) is one of fourteen Local Drug and Alcohol Task Forces established in 1997 in response to high levels of drug misuse within communities. We are responsible for implementing the National Substance Misuse Strategy, and facilitating a more co-ordinated response in tackling drug and alcohol use and misuse in Dublin 15.
Since 1997, Blanchardstown has greatly developed and grown as an area. Many different services and interventions have been developed by the Task Force to help the people living in Dublin 15 over that time. Unfortunately, the problems caused by drugs and alcohol have also grown and changed in many ways. Therefore, the interventions that are put in place to address these problems must also be capable of adapting to this change. However, a prerequisite for being able to adapt and change services is a thorough, comprehensive and deep knowledge of the problems of the area.
We started the Blanchardstown Drug & Alcohol Trend Monitoring System (DATMS) in 2015 to provide us with such an analysis. Local research cannot be replaced by national research. There are no national statistics that can inform us as much as we can inform ourselves as we live or work in Dublin 15. We have used the knowledge of the local people and services to create this picture of the problems of the area and we continue to use that knowledge to update our analysis. It is our hope and our intention that we will produce a new report every year. In this way, we will always have a strong, local evidence base for everything that we do.
This report can be read in isolation, but we believe that it will be more useful when read in conjunction with the first DATMS report which was published last year. While we have introduced some new concepts this year the fundamental themes remain the same.
For the purpose of this study we chose to categorise drug use as treated and untreated drug use rather than as problem and recreational drug use. This is because the question of whether or not drug use is a problem for an individual is a subjective question which can only be properly answered by the individual, their family or close contacts; whereas, the question of whether drug use is treated or untreated is an objective measurement. There is a value judgement implied in the term recreational drug use, which tends to de-emphasise the seriousness of the behaviour. It should be noted that individuals often underestimate the harm to themselves and rarely perceive the harm to the community which results from such behaviours.