Aodhán Ó Ríordáin the Irish Minister of State for New Communities, Culture and Equality, announced that his government is opening safe injection sites, will introduce a new Misuse of Drugs Bill bill in early 2016 that will decrminalise possession of "small amounts" of drugs including heroin, cocaine, and marijuana, and "as far as possible drug addiction should be removed from the criminal justice system."
It's a remarkable, sane, humane, and evidence-based approach. Good on him. Now, if only they would reform their barbaric abortion laws.
Mr Ó Ríordáin said he wanted to remove the "stigma" from drug addiction and the key to this will be preventing, as much as possible, those caught up in addiction ending up with criminal convictions. He added that the "shame" that dominates the discourse around drug use "disrupts the capacity of families and individuals" to seek help.
Though a matter for the next administration, he told The Irish Times there was now a "strong consensus that drugs across the board should be decriminalised", but that this would be a matter "for the next government".
Stressing a distinction between legalisation and decriminalisation, he said it would remain a crime to sell, distribute or profit from illicit drugs. But it would not be a crime to be a drug user or addict.
Injection rooms for addicts to open next year in drug law change, says Minister
[Kitty Holland/Irish Times]
(Image: Does Cannabis Inherently Harm Young People's Developing Minds?,
Cannabis Culture, CC-BY)