“We don’t criminalise people who consume alcohol harmfully, instead we help them, we should do the same with all drugs.”
Graham De Barra, co-founder of Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) spoke at the Oireachtas Justice Committee’s submissions on the Drugs Review. De Barra expressed to the committee his view that drug users should be given help, the same way that alcohol users are.
He went on to say that 40 arrests are made daily for non-violent drug possession and that these resources should be used instead to tackle violent gang crime.
The SSDP wants the Government to introduce drug laws similar to those in Portugal, where possession of certain quantities of all drugs is no longer a crime.
Dan Kirby, a PhD student in DCU and chair of the DCU SSDP, also spoke to the committee. He said we should understand that some people want to take drugs and they shouldn’t be seen as unlawful, “We can accept the fact that some people will always engage in risky behaviour, we should allow them to do so without being branded criminals”.
A report on the committee’s findings will be given to the Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald, to urge a change in the legislation that governs drug use and possession.