CityWide commissioned this paper to explore possible structures and processes through which to engage with, hear the voice of, and empower Black and minority ethnic communities in relation to issues of drug use.

CityWide hopes that such a development would enable it to be informed about the particular needs of those involved in problematic drug use within Black and minority ethnic communities, to enable Black and minority ethnic communities to influence the development and implementation of the National Drugs Strategy, and to support effective policy and service responses to their needs.

The paper was prepared on the basis of interviews with fourteen people involved in community based service provision in relation to problematic drug use (9) and with people involved in Black and minority ethnic organisations (5).

Two research reports on drug use in new communities in the Irish context were reviewed. In 2004 Merchants Quay got a grant from the National Advisory Committee on Drugs and Alcohol to carry out an exploratory study on problematic drug use among new communities. 1 This addressed patterns of drug use, methods of drug use, motivations for drug use, risks drugs users are exposed to, levels of awareness of health promotion strategies and services, and barriers to accessing support services. This noted that carrying out research with drug users from new communities was particularly challenging and demanding. It is a small qualitative study.

In 2009, the Western Region Drugs Task Force commissioned research that presents an overview of new communities in the west of Ireland, explores substance use in their countries of origin, explores substance use in Ireland and among new communities, and reviews the risk factors for substance use in new communities, barriers to effective service utilisation and possible responses.

Keep up-to-date with drug policy developments by subscribing to the IDPC Monthly Alert.