Time for new approach to drug problem, says Sinn Féin TD

Time for new approach to drug problem, says Sinn Féin TD

Telling people not to take illegal drugs "has not worked", a Sinn Féin TD said today.

Speaking during a Dáil debate on health today, Sinn Féin spokesperson for Drugs, Deputy Jonathan O’Brien problems to be dealt with as a health problem rather than a criminal justice one.

“We have an ever-increasing number of people losing their lives through addiction," the Cork North Central TD said.

"Last week in Cork, a 19-year-old tragically lost his life because of an overdose.

“We need to recognise that simply telling people to just abstain from drug taking has not worked.

"It hasn’t worked for young people experimenting with drugs and it hasn’t worked for people living in abject poverty in deprived communities.

"Drug use should be treated as a health matter rather than purely something criminals do.

"We have addressed it as a criminal justice issue by criminalising addicts. We need a whole new humane and compassionate approach based on harm reduction and a real acknowledgement if what is going on.

"Plans that had been flagged for a pilot supervised injection site in Dublin must be processed regardless of who is in Government. These plans must also be replicated across the state – Dublin is not the only place where there are addicts in need of medical advice and a safe place to conduct themselves.

"I am urging all members of the House, including those who are involved in negotiations, to move from a criminal justice approach to a health-based approach that is based on research and international best practice, and of course the appropriate resourcing."

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