Psychoactive substances - HRB data illustrates policy impact

Data from the HRB's National Drug Treatment Reporting System was used in a journal paper that examined the influence of The Psychoactive Substances Act 2010.

Dr Suzi Lyons
Dr Suzi Lyons, HRB

This legislation banned the sale of any such substances and effectively closed down headshops.

The research, which was the first national study on the impact of the laws, found average treatment rates for new psychoactive substances (NSP) fell by nearly 50% in the two years after laws were introduced in 2010.

According to Dr Suzi Lyons, a Senior Researcher at the HRB,

'The emergence of NPS in Ireland, their rapid rise as a drug of choice, particularly among younger people, generated much concern in Ireland. This study, using routine surveillance data on treated problem drug use from the HRB's National Drug Treatment Reporting System, shows how robust national surveillance data can be used to measure the effect of public health policy actions'. 

The research paper can be found at:

You can read some media coverage in the Irish Examiner here.