- Sex & Drugs
- 25 Jan 18
The decriminalisation of possession of small amounts of drugs is a key part of the Ana Liffey Drug Project Safer From Harm initiative.
GAA star and author, Philly McMahon, will be launching the Ana Liffey Drug Project’s Safer From Harm initiative today in the Mansion House.
It calls for the decriminalisation of simple possession of small amounts of drugs and increasing case management capacity for people with complex and multiple needs.
The comprehensive harm reduction programme will hopefully embolden the Minister for Drugs, Catherine Byrne, as she awaits the National Drugs Strategy Steering Commission report that will shape future government policy.
“When Ana Liffey asked me to launch their strategic plan, I was delighted to say yes,” McMahon reflects. “I know first-hand how drug use can impact greatly on any individual and any family. I also know that in order to make things better, we need to support people who use drugs and who might be struggling – not judge them, or turn away, or be fearful. Only an individual can change their behaviour, but those around them can help make it easier for them to make changes. This is what the staff at Ana Liffey do – support people to make positive change in their lives. Our national drugs strategy “Reducing Harm, Promoting Recovery” is person centred and grounded in a public health approach. Ana Liffey’s work contributes to this national mandate, and I look forward to staying engaged over the course of the strategy.”
Reflecting on this move towards a Portuguese-style treat not punish model, Ana Liffey CEO, Tony Duffin, says: “Ireland is in a good place currently in relation to drug policy. Our current national strategy – ‘Reducing Harm, Promoting Recovery’ clearly prioritises health over criminal justice as a response to drug use. This is critical – criminalising people just for using drugs is counterproductive – it causes harm rather than reducing it. There is a working group under the National Drug Strategy looking at policy options in this regard – we welcome this and look forward to engaging with the working group.
“Similarly,” he continues, “here are lots of people whose needs go far beyond drug use – it’s easy to oversimplify and think of problematic drug use as a standalone issue. It’s not. Many people who use drugs problematically have multiple difficulties – we recognise this and we will look to increase our capacity to provide tailored support to address the underlying issues that lead to problematic drug use.”