Students for Sensible Drug Policy- a look to the year ahead

Students for Sensible Drug Policy

The Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) is to take part in DCU’s clubs and socs recruitment event for the first time this week.

SSDP recently established a branch in DCU under the Chairmanship of Dan Kirby. The non-profit organisation founded an Irish wing in 2009 and believes that: “the only sensible route for drug laws is legalisation and strict regulation.” According to Kirby the current system: “is broken and never worked”.

A recent study conducted by the Student Drug Survey found that 49% of students had consumed cannabis in the last year, 20% ecstasy and 10% LSD and cocaine.

The SSDP has been working with the Minister for National Drugs Strategy, Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, T.D to find solutions to the social problems posed by drugs being banned. Both the Minister and the SSDP favour “decriminalising personal possession of all drugs” and adopting a Portuguese model for Ireland.

Kirby said that Minister Ó Ríordáin believes there is “enough time left in this Government to open safe-injection centres” for the capital’s drug addicts. Adding that the current laws criminalising heroin have “caused a huge amount of harm”.

The SSDP has been approached by CISTA (Cannabis Is Safer Then Alcohol) – This political movement was created by the co-founder of the former social networking site BEBO, Paul Birch. CISTA fielded 34 candidates in the recent UK General Election, including Barry Brown in West Tyrone.

However, Kirby said that CISTA has a “focus on cannabis” and stated that the SSDP would rather focus on “drugs policy on a whole” with “decriminalisation as the main focus.”

When asked what the SSDP taught of the free market Colorado model of drug decriminalisation – Kirby said that “advertisement should not be allowed.”

Kirby said administrations must “learn from the mistakes of alcohol and tobacco” focussing on the fact that “tobacco smoking has fallen over the last 30 years because of education and regulation.”

According to Kirby, if ecstasy was legalised it would reduce public health dangers as with regulation, users would “know what is in it.”

The SSDP intends to invite potential members during clubs and socs events to complete an anonymous survey about their drug use as university students.

Kirby stressed that “all drugs are risky” but that people will always do risky things “like skydiving and having unprotected sex.”

The SSDP has stated that its official position will be “neither to condom or condemn drug use.”
Andrew Ralph

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