Last month, the Irish Bishop’s Drugs Initiative (IBDI), of which Bishop Michael Router serve as liaison bishop, along with the Family Addiction Support Network (FASN), made a submission to the Citizens’ Assembly on Drugs Use. This Citizen’s Assembly was established to consider the legislative, policy and operational changes that could be made in Ireland to reduce the harmful impacts of illicit drugs on individuals, families, communities, and wider Irish society.
The joint submission outlines its belief that the current criminalisation approach to drug policy has been ineffective in addressing drug use and its associated harms. The submission states that drug use should be addressed as a social and health issue rather than a justice issue. Further, the submission states that research shows decriminalisation does not increase drug use and other crime, and the social cost to the individual is much reduced including future employment prospects.
The IBDI and FASN are completely opposed to the legalisation of drugs and believe that such a move, considering the social, psychological, and physical effects of drugs, would be disastrous for public health and for communities across the island.
The submission also calls for the provision of peer-led family support groups, the inclusion of families in the development of all services and policies, and for substantial investment in drug projects and family supports to help protect future generations from the negative and harmful effects of drug use.