Pubdate: Mon, 30 May 2016
Source: Irish Times, The (Ireland)
Copyright: 2016 The Irish Times
Author: Neil McCleane


Sir,  As a society, we need a serious and grown-up conversation about 
the drug policy in this country. I am not going to suggest what 
should be done, just some facts as I see them. I do this purely in 
the hope that a full and honest discussion takes place across this 
republic on how this issue affects people's lives and what policy 
should in future be pursued.

Some drugs bring very serious health issues for people abusing them. 
Using illegal drugs is, by definition, against the law, and a 
so-called war has been waged against drugs by the three arms of the 
State for decades.

The Garda Siochana has a huge amount of resources tied up in this 
struggle, as do the courts, and the Oireachtas has passed countless 
laws prohibiting various drugs and associated crimes over the years.

A sizeable portion of the prison population is incarcerated in 
connection with these laws.

Despite this, more drugs, and a greater variety of them, are 
available for purchase than ever before in the history of our State 
and indeed human history. The prohibition of drugs has not dampened 
demand nearly enough, and there is a huge economic market which is 
principally controlled by hardened criminals.

This is a very lucrative market, and the large amount of money 
generated means that these criminals have huge power. Most recently 
these criminal have used their power to murder people seemingly at will.

If you removed this market from these hardened criminals you would, 
by extension, remove their money and their power. You would also 
remove many people from the criminal justice system.

If a substance is made legal, then additional controls can be put in 
place that allows for purity to be standardised, people to be 
employed and taxes to be collected, in much the same way that legal 
drugs, such as tobacco and alcohol, already are.

I sincerely hope there is a logical debate on this issue.  Yours, etc,



Dublin 8.
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