Senator Lynn Ruane Strongly Condemns Proposed Changes To Misuse Of Drugs Act
The proposed changes to the Misuse of Drugs Act will disproportionately punish addicts and low level drug dealers and will not fulfil its ostensible aim of addressing the root causes of the Irish illicit drug trade or the recent gangland violence, said Senator Lynn Ruane.
“The Minister for Health may believe that this is a strong and appropriate response to the recent violence in Dublin’s Inner City. However, this proposal is a knee-jerk and ill thought out reaction to what is an extraordinarily complex problem. These changes and their focus on the further criminalisation of personal, non-violent drug possession will waste valuable Garda resources, court time, taxpayer money and will not tackle the supply of drugs at the source,” said Senator Ruane.
“As a former addiction and drugs worker, I have first-hand experience of the negative impact that drug criminalisation has had on our society’s most vulnerable. I strongly reject the idea that increasing criminal sanctions will solve the problem and furthermore, I am certain that drug use will not be deterred and the problem will simply be forced further underground. We need to build a harm-reducing and rehabilitative approach to drug issues and focus on it as a healthcare issue rather than a criminal justice one.”
“There has not been adequate time for input from all stakeholders into these proposed measures. I would ask the government to delay their expedition of these changes. This proposal will punish drug users and addicts and does not appreciate the complex socio-economic causes of the illicit drug trade and violence in the Inner City. Ireland has an opportunity to lead the way in progressive drug policy on an international level. Our national drug strategy must not be solely reactionary but strongly based on evidence and incorporating the expertise of all stakeholders,” said Senator Lynn Ruane.
Senator Ruane supports the decriminalisation of drugs and would urge the Government to introduce the policy into our national drug strategy.