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Ana Liffey Drug Project Calls on Irish Gov’t to Allocate a Drugs Minister

Ana Liffey Drug Project has welcomed the inclusion of support for a “health-led rather than criminal justice approach to drugs use including legislating for injection rooms” within the new Programme for Government.  There is strong evidence for such an approach.

Needless to say, Ireland has a very serious and complex drugs problem, with the latest figures from the Health Research Board showing that drugs were implicated in the deaths of 679 people in 2013. That figure includes both overdoses and deaths by trauma.  And every day we hear more bad news related to Ireland’s drugs problem reported in the media.

Tony Duffin the Director of the Ana Liffey Drug Project said:

"Every day there are media reports relating to Ireland’s drugs crisis – violence fuelled related to the illicit drugs market; tragically premature drug related deaths; drugs seizures; and more besides. Some people have described to me how they have become desensitised to the situation."

Duffin continued:

"We can do more; but, it does require political leadership.  Without that, it will be very difficult to make progress on progressive drug policies. Also, evidence based progressive drug policy must be above party politics. We need both these elements if we genuinely wish to improve our current drug related difficulties and improve the situation for us all."

In the run up to an expected announcement next week of the appointment of Junior Ministers, the Ana Liffey Drug Project is calling on the government to allocate a Minister of State who is solely focused on the drugs issue. Drug policy is complicated, requiring health, education, social and justice responses; and as such it requires a full time leadership role.

Duffin said:

“We need to accept that we can’t solve the problem of drugs in society; rather we can better manage the situation to reduce the problem and improve the situation for all. To achieve this we need brave ministerial leadership to continue on the path of progressive drug policy; and to do that Ireland needs a Minister of State who is solely focused on the drugs issue.”

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