s the battle to decriminalize — and legalize — weed in the U.S. continues, another country is taking a giant leap towards eliminating its stringent drug laws. In the near future, Ireland will decriminalize marijuana, cocaine, and heroin possession. Medically-supervised injection rooms will also soon be available to drug users, in order to reduce the stigma of addiction.
Ireland is following in the footsteps of countries that have started to tire of the fallout from the war on drugs driven by U.S. policy.
On Monday, during a speech at the London School of Economics, Minister of Drugs Aodhán Ó Ríordáin announced plans to open the injection centers for drug users in Dublin next year. Ríordáin also divulged that the parliamentary committee on Justice, Defence and Equality strongly supports decriminalization across the board, and will work towards making that a reality in 2016.
Calling on a “radical” shift in drug policy, Ríordáin pointed to the public health implications of decriminalization and the extent to which national funds are spent on law enforcement and court efforts to crack down on drug use.
“Too often those with drug problems suffer from stigma, due to a lack of understanding or public education about the nature of addiction. This stigma can be compounded for those who end up with a criminal record due to possession of drugs for their own use,” he said. “Addiction is not a choice, it’s a healthcare issue. This is why I believe it is imperative that we approach our drug problem in a more compassionate and sensitive way.”