Irish parliamentary committee recommends decriminalising drugs for personal use

An Irish parliamentary committee has recommended decriminalising and regulating drugs for personal use.

The recommendation came in a Joint Committee on Justice report that was published on Wednesday which acknowledged “the harms associated with pursuing a criminal justice led approach to drug use and misuse” and recommends that a health-led approach “is prioritised in both policy and practice.”

The report also recommended increasing investment in harm reduction services, including addiction treatments and social interventions, as well as expanding the Medical Cannabis Access Programme (MCAP) so that more people can access medical cannabis to treat chronic illnesses.

Furthermore, it called for the government to regulate the markets for drugs such as cannabis as part of a package of measures to reduce the impact of existing black markets for illegal substances [via].

Cannabis Plant – Credit: Christopher Furlong / Getty

Deputy James Lawless, Cathaoirleach of the Committee, gave a statement on the report.  He said: “In selecting this topic, the Committee recognised the ongoing and significant problems with drug addiction in Ireland and the tragic impact this has on societies, communities and families.

“The Committee heard figures during its public engagement that the rate of drug deaths in Ireland ranks at three times the European average and that these figures are among the highest within the EU,” he continued.

“The written submissions received and, at our meetings, the witnesses provided the Committee with an insight into several areas where it was felt that Ireland’s approach towards drug policies could be re-examined.”

“Among these areas include the potential to decriminalise the possession of certain amounts of drugs for personal use; the potential to introduce a regulatory model surrounding drug usage; the potential benefits or drawbacks of such approaches, and the experiences and policies of other jurisdictions in relation to drug use and possession.”

Elsewhere, there have been reports of ‘pink cocaine’, a mixture of drugs such as ketamine and MDMA with pink food colouring in it, spreading across Europe. The drug originated in Colombia’s late night club scenes.

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