13 Jun 2018

Philly McMahon, Emmet Kirwan and Jack Nolan among those speaking at Dublin Drug Town Hall meeting

The Hot Press, Ana Liffey Drug Project & LSE event highlighted the need for drug decriminalisation in Ireland.

There was a full house last night at Dublin’s Wood Quay venue for the first Drug Policy Town Hall meeting brought to you by Hot Press, the Ana Liffey Drug Project and the London School of Economics.

There were impassioned contributions from GAA legend Philly McMahon whose brother John tragically died from his heroin use, and the star and co-writer of Dublin Oldschool, Emmet Kirwan.

“We always talk about these things like it’s about the drugs – the drugs are always centre stage, when really we should be talking about the people,” Kirwan reflected. “This is not about decriminalising drugs, this is about decriminalising people who use drugs. When somebody is using drugs, branding them as a criminal isn’t helpful – it just drives them further away, and makes them feel stigmatised, isolated and apart. Instead, we need to be pulling people closer, focusing on their health and helping people live the best and healthiest lives they can lead.”

Echoing those sentiments, panelist Anna Quigley from CityWide said: “Our national drugs strategy calls for a health-led approach to drug use. We need to back this up with action, and make sure that what we are doing in practice matches our policy. Unfortunately, it is still the case that simple possession is a crime. If everyone agrees that drug use is a health issue, not a criminal justice one, why is it that people who use drugs must first be labelled as a criminal before they can access healthcare? This is stigmatising and unhelpful, but we have the chance now to change that.”

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Source: The Hot Press Newsdesk, 13/06/2018

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