Following the conclusion yesterday of the final meeting of the Citizens’ Assembly on Drugs Use, a summary of the recommendations has now been published on www.citizensassembly.ie.
In total, the Assembly made 36 recommendations. Taken together, these recommendations provide a strong and unequivocal signal to the Government and the Oireachtas that the State needs to take a far more progressive, ambitious, comprehensive and coherent approach to drugs use in Ireland.
The Citizens’ Assembly has recommended that the State pivots from the status quo to a comprehensive health-led response to drugs, including decriminalisation for people found in possession of drugs for personal use. The details of how decriminalisation can be legislated for is a question that the Oireachtas should determine following detailed legal scrutiny.
The Assembly has identified a number of important questions that the Oireachtas should examine, including how best to balance the objectives of decriminalisation, diversion and dissuasion.
The Assembly has also made a series of recommendations about how drugs services should be better resourced and coordinated, and how drugs policy should be given greater priority by Government.
Commenting on the recommendations, the Chair of the Assembly, Paul Reid, stated: “The Assembly has stated loud and clear that the State needs to take a much more ambitious and progressive approach to dealing with drugs in Ireland. The Assembly recommendations call for significant change to how drugs issues are dealt with, including by the political system, by the criminal justice and health systems, and by the community and voluntary organisations providing supports across the country.
“There is no time to waste here. There has been much talk in recent years about the Portuguese approach to drugs. The Citizens’ Assembly has now recommended an Irish version of the Portuguese model. The Assembly’s final report will be submitted to the Oireachtas on schedule, by the end of this year. The ball will then be firmly in the court of the elected politicians. We will await their response with anticipation.”
For a summary of the 36 recommendations, visit www.citizensassembly.ie.