A revolutionary bill will be introduced in the Seanad at 4.30pm today. The bill, entitled "Controlled Drugs & Harm Reduction Bill", is drafted by progressive Senator Lynn Ruane and seconded by former Minister of State for the National Drugs Strategy Senator, Aodhán Ó Ríordáin. Here is a brief video describing what the bill proposes to implement:
— Lynn Ruane (@SenLynnRuane) May 25, 2017
According to Senator Ruane's press release, the bill provides an outline for the decriminalisation of personal drug possession and use. The bill outlines a Drug Dissuasion Service to manage cases whereby people are found in personal possession of drugs and to keep the drug user away from the court system.
The DD service will provide harm reduction (harm reduction is a movement for social justice built on a belief in, and respect for, the rights of people who use drugs) measures that include drug awareness, rehabilitation and community engagement programmes. So far, the bill is supported by the Labour Party, the Green Party and a number of Independent senators.
The nation has been battling drug use with traditional methods, such as the court system, with little impact on personal drug use figures or without tackling the health aspect of drug use. The bill will propose health care intervention rather than the prison system to make the health of the drug user its main priority and to remove them from a "cycle of hopelessness".
According to Ruane, the harm reduction strategy will cost the Government less to implement than using free legal aid, court systems and policing with little or no impact.
In 2016, Tony Duffin, director of the Ana Liffey drugs project on Middle Abbey Street, stated to The Irish Times “We have an average of one death by overdose a day in Ireland...No one has died in a supervised injecting room.” Many critics have been urging the Government to update drug use strategies with supervised injecting rooms to combat the heroin crisis in Dublin and other cities across Ireland. It's estimated that over 3,000 people are injecting drugs in Dublin alone and Duffin insists the problem can no longer be "policed away".
Add us on Snapchat: @collegetimesct