Ireland Country Drug Report 2019

Public expenditure

Understanding the costs of drug-related actions is an important aspect of drug policy. Some of the funds allocated by governments for expenditure on tasks related to drugs are identified as such in the budget (‘labelled’). Often, however, most drug-related expenditure is not identified (‘unlabelled’) and must be estimated using modelling approaches.

Estimates of executed labelled expenditures in Ireland are available from 2005. The priorities for drug-related public expenditure are set out in the national drugs strategy. In recent years, the method of estimating drug-related public expenditure has been standardised, and it has become possible to compare levels of labelled drug-related public expenditure over time. In 2015, 2016 and 2017 expenditure stabilised at 0.08 % of gross domestic product (GDP).

In 2017, total drug-related expenditure was approximately EUR 241 million. The drug budget allocated approximately 52 % of spending to health, 32 % to public order and safety, 8 % to recreation, culture and religion, 8 % to social protection initiatives and 0.3 % to education.


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Methodological note: Analysis of trends is based only on those countries providing sufficient data to describe changes over the period specified. The reader should also be aware that monitoring patterns and trends in a hidden and stigmatised behaviour like drug use is both practically and methodologically challenging. For this reason, multiple sources of data are used for the purposes of analysis in this report. Caution is therefore required in interpretation, in particular when countries are compared on any single measure. Detailed information on methodology and caveats and comments on the limitations in the information set available can be found in the EMCDDA Statistical Bulletin.