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Report calls for fresh approach to drug use

15 Dec 2022 / ireland Print

Report calls for fresh approach to drug use

A report from an Oireachtas committee has come out in favour of a policy of decriminalising the possession of drugs for personal consumption.

The Joint Committee on Justice also recommends that steps are taken to introduce a regulatory model for certain drugs.

Following on from these recommendations, the report urges an examination of “the practice of cultivation of currently illicit substances at a modest, non-profit level”, in order to regulate such activity.

The committee said that it acknowledged the harms associated with a criminal-justice approach to drug use and misuse, and recommended that a health-led approach be prioritised “in both policy and practice”.

Access to cannabis

The report calls for the expansion of the Medical Cannabis Access Programme (MCAP), to ensure that more people affected by chronic illness can access cannabis in circumstances where other treatments have failed to relieve symptoms.

It also wants increased investment in programmes, services, and treatments that address addiction and the harms associated with it.

The committee also calls for “a rapid expansion” of the drug-testing pilot scheme that was first trialled in Ireland at the Electric Picnic Music and Arts Festival, in Stradbally, Co Laois, in 2022.

Drug deaths

Committee chair James Lawless TD said that witness appearing before the committee had given it an insight into several areas where it was felt that Ireland’s approach towards drugs could be re-examined.

During the hearings, the committee heard that the rate of drug deaths in Ireland ranks at three times the European average.

A copy of the report has been sent to the Minister for Justice.

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