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Use of information

How NDTRS information is used

The information obtained from treatment services and collated by the NDTRS is:

  • an indirect indicator of the levels of drug and alcohol misuse in Ireland; and
  • a direct indicator of the size and nature of the demand for treatment.

NDTRS researchers analyse the collected data and issue regular reports describing the current treatment situation, and tracking changes over a number of years. The data can be analysed in various ways, including:

  • By place of residence - which provides an indirect indicator of patterns of problem drug and alcohol use in an area (HSE region or area, county, local health office area, or electoral district), and changes over time.
  • By place of treatment - which provides a direct indicator of the demand for treatment by describing service provision, initial treatment provided, profile of main problem drugs, risk behaviours, and socio-demographic characteristics of cases attending these services.
  • By type of drug(s) used - which provides a description of patterns of problem drug use, and the relationship between problem drugs and selected demographic, socio-economic and drug-using characteristics. 

At national level

NDTRS information is used by policy makers and service providers

  • to monitor patterns of drug misuse
  • to inform local and national drugs polices
  • to develop strategies and target resources
  • to assess treatment demand and plan service provision
  • to identify the characteristics of clients entering treatment
  • to develop appropriate treatment responses.

For example, in 1996 NDTRS data were used to identify a number of urban areas with problematic heroin use (Ministerial Task Force 1996). Local drugs task forces (LDTFs) were set up in these areas, and continue to provide strategic responses to drug misuse in their communities.

At European level

NDTRS data are reported to the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) and form part of the Centre's annual report on the drug situation in Europe.