Citizens’ assembly to consider drugs law reform

Citizens' assembly to consider drugs law reform

A citizens’ assembly on drugs use is to be asked to consider how the harmful impacts of illicit drugs can be “significantly reduced”, including through legislative change.

The assembly, which will comprise 99 members of the general public and an independent chair, will begin its work in April and is expected to conclude by the end of the year.

It will be asked to consider what legislative, policy and operational changes the State could make to reduce the impacts of illicit drugs on individuals, families, communities and wider society.

Hildegarde Naughton, government chief whip and minister of state with responsibility for public health, well being and the National Drugs Strategy, will bring a motion to the Dáil and Seanad next week to formally establish the assembly.

Ms Naughton said: “Drug use affects all members of society, whether directly or through families and communities, and it imposes significant health and financial costs. Involving citizens in decision-making on drugs policy is therefore appropriate.

“I want to ensure that the voice of young people is heard at the Citizens Assembly, as they can be particularly impacted by drug use. To this end, I have initiated a consultation with young people through Comhairle na nÓg and youth drug projects in disadvantaged areas, which will be presented to the Citizens Assembly for its consideration.

“I expect we will also see an international component to the Citizens Assembly, to allow for an exchange of good practice with the British-Irish Council work sector on drugs, which Ireland chairs, the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, and EU member states.”

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