News items

  • Decriminalise people who use drugs in Ireland – New Report

    October 8, 2018


  • Should Ireland get rid of criminal penalties for drug possession?

    June 11, 2018

    Should Ireland get rid of criminal penalties for drug possession? It has been successful elsewhere.

    A TOWN HALL meeting will be held this week in Dublin on the subject of looking into a health-led approach towards drug use in Ireland.

    The event – which is organised by drugs NGO the Ana Liffey Drug Project – will look into what a health-led approach to tackling drug use would look like.

    The government last year launched its National Drugs Strategy, which is titled Reducing Harm, Supporting Recovery. The strategy explicitly supports moving towards a “health-led response to drug and alcohol use in Ireland”.

    This would be a move towards efforts at reducing harm of drug use through health means.

    It is currently a criminal offence for anyone to possess illegal drugs in Ireland. Anyone found to be in possession of prohibited narcotics can be prosecuted before the courts and potentially receive a criminal conviction.

    This could range from a fine to a prison sentence.

    In November of last year, junior minister with responsibility for the strategy Catherine Byrne Working Group to consider alternative approaches to the possession of drugs for personal use.

    The Town Hall meeting this week coincides with the launch of a public consultation on the matter, where Irish citizens can give their views on Ireland’s current laws and whether they need to change.

    The consultation takes the form of a questionnaire in which the public is queried about their attitudes to illegal drug use and whether they think criminal penalties should be more lenient.


  • Catherine Byrne TD talks about public consultation on how to handle the laws

    June 6, 2018

    News Talk FM 

    Catherine Byrne TD tells Dr Ciara Kelly  about the public consultation on how to handle the laws around drug possession


  • Dublin Oldschool star Emmet Kirwan to guest at next week’s Drug Policy Town Hall meeting in Dublin

    June 6, 2018

    He joins GAA legend Philly McMahon as one of the special guests at June 12’s Wood Quay venue event: apply for free tickets now!

    Emmet Kirwan has joined GAA star Philly McMahon as one of the special guests at the first Hot Press, Ana Liffey Drug Project and London School of Economics Drug Policy Town Hall meeting, which is taking place at 6.30pm on Tuesday June 12 in Dublin’s Wood Quay Venue.

    Emmet has co-written and stars in Dublin Oldschool, a new Irish film that “tells the story of Jason, a wannabe DJ, on a drug-fuelled trip through the streets of Dublin as he stumbles from one session to another. Somewhere between the DJs, decks, and drug busts he stumbles across a familiar face from the past, his brother Daniel. Daniel, an educated heroin addict, is living on the streets. The brothers haven’t seen or spoken to each other in years but over a lost weekend they reconnect and reminisce over raves, tunes and their troubled past. Two brothers living very different lives might have more in common than they think.”


  • How To End Ireland’s Drug Deaths Epidemic

    June 6, 2018

    In 2001, Portugal decriminalised the possession of drugs for personal use. Since then, yearly overdose deaths have fallen from 300 to 23; problematic drug use has halved; and HIV infection rates have similarly plummeted. STUART CLARK travelled to Lisbon to see where it’s all gone right. Plus, we look forward to the first of the Hot Press, Ana Liffey Drug Project and LSE Drug Policy Town Hall meetings.

    “We haven’t stopped the war on drugs, we’ve stopped the war on people.” Dr. Nuno Capaz is explaining the philosophy behind Portugal’s health-based ‘treat don’t punish’ drug laws, which have seen overdose deaths fall from 300 in 2001 to 23 last year. In that same period, the number of problem drug users has been halved from 100,000 to 50,000; intravenous drug use as a factor in new HIV cases has plummeted from 60% to 6%; and heroin use among the prison population is down from 14% to 3%.

    With official government stats like that, it’s no wonder that Portugal has become such an important reference point for progressive drug policy.

    “We’ve had delegations visiting us from all over the world including Ireland, Canada and Norway, where they’re introducing their own version of decriminalisation,” resumes Capaz, an amiable fortysomething whose hipsterish demeanour belies the fact that he’s Vice-President of the Lisbon Drug Addiction Dissuasion Commission. More commonly known as the CDT, it’s where 4,000 people caught with drugs for personal use were sent last year, instead of to court. Following an initial assessment in the organisation’s nondescript suburban offices, they were obliged to return, to meet a panel comprising of a lawyer, a psychologist and a social worker.