The War on Drugs is a war on the poor and the sick
Seconding the Controlled Drugs and Harm Reduction Bill 2017, Labour Party Senator Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, has called for an end to the ‘war on drugs’.
“I was delighted this evening to second the Controlled Drugs and Harm Reduction Bill 2017, proposed by my colleague Senator Lynn Ruane.
“It is my absolute conviction, as someone who taught in the North Inner City for eleven years and as a former Minister for the National Drugs Strategy, that the “War on Drugs’ must come to an end. The War on Drugs is a war on people and a war on a certain type of person: the poor. Drugs are everywhere in Irish society – in every town and village and in every income bracket.
“There is not a profession in Ireland that doesn’t have within its ranks a person who has once taken an illegal drug. The difference is that professional classes don’t get criminalised for their drug use. The poor generally do.
“Anyone who spends anytime in any court of law, especially the innovative Drug Court, will witness the appalling spectacle of a court room full of poor sick people. The opposite of addiction is not sobriety. The opposite of addiction is connection. It is not realistic to expect someone to re-connect with society with the threat of a criminal conviction.
“We are not decriminalising any drug. We are decriminalising the person. This is a humane and just cause that is determined to save lives in a country which has the third highest overdose rate in Europe.
“We were not successful in getting the bill passed second stage today, but the government have agreed to adourn the debate in order to allow further discussion to continue. Myself and Senator Lynn Ruane will deal with all groups who are willing to help deliver a progressive and compassionate drug policy.”