Poll finds wide support for drug decriminalisation

Niamh Eastwood
Niamh Eastwood

Nearly half of people in Ireland support the decriminalisation of drugs, according to a new opinion poll conducted by Red C.

The poll, carried out for Citywide Drugs Crisis Campaign, shows 49 per cent of people are in favour of decriminalisation while 51 per cent are not.

The findings were presented to a seminar in Dublin yesterday.

Niamh Eastwood, executive director of decriminalisation advocacy group Release, said: “Ireland currently has one of the highest drug-related death rates in Europe.

“It is impossible to deny that a criminal justice approach to drug use contributes to such shockingly high figures - punitive approaches lead to poor education around safer drug use and reinforce societal stigma, which can deter the people who need help from accessing health, harm reduction or treatment services.”

She added: “Research into over 25 jurisdictions across the world that have implemented decriminalisation shows that, when done well, decriminalisation can bring excellent social, economic and health benefits to society.

“Furthermore, despite what critics of reforming drug laws believe, this approach does not result in increased drug use but instead reduces problematic drug use.”

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