Our National Drugs Strategy currently advances a ‘health based response to drug use’. However, possession of illicit drugs is a crime, meaning that people who use drugs are, almost by definition, criminals. This tension between criminalising people who use drugs and vindicating a health based approach to drug use is currently a live issue in many countries, and Ireland is no exception. A working group has been established under the National Drug Strategy to look at this issue and is due to make recommendations later this year.
Ana Liffey’s current strategic plan commits the organisation to “Work in partnership towards ensuring the implementation of a Harm Reducing and Rehabilitative approach to the possession of small amounts of illegal drugs in Ireland by 2022.”
To deliver on this goal, we have launched the #SaferFromHarm campaign. Working in partnership with our good friends at the London School of Economics and Hot Press , we want to reach out to people and have conversations about what smarter drug policies around possession might look like in the Irish context. The core message of the campaign is that health, not criminal justice, should be at the core of the State’s response to possession of drugs for personal use in all circumstances. By adopting such an approach, we can keep people #SaferFromHarm
We’ll be going around the country hosting events – and we want to talk to you! If you missed us in June, you can come see us in Waterford, Limerick, Galway and Dublin (location TBA) in September. There’ll also be a special event for picnickers in the Hot Press tent at Electric Picnic. Find out more – browse some of our resources below and sign up to our newsletter at the top of this page.
2018 is a pivotal time for drug policy in Ireland. We can choose to change how we respond to drug use and to move towards the health-based approach that is mandated by national policy. Let’s talk about how that can happen.