A new report is calling on the Government to decriminalise drug use.
The Ana Liffey Project and the London School of Economics say treating people caught with small amounts of drugs as criminals is "counter-productive".
According to the report, the current approach fails to discourage drug use and is a barrier to addicts looking for help.
Dr John Collins from the London School of Economics International Drug Policy Unit says change is needed.
Dr Collins said: "The evidence is pretty clear that decriminalisation is the smarter way to deal with this issue, that you shouldn't be giving young people, or anyone for that matter, criminal records for possessing certain substances or consuming certain substances.
"That, ultimately, is just an ineffective way and an ineffective use of police resources."