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Guide to the Citizens’ Assembly on Drugs Use

By January 25, 2024 No Comments

A report by the Citizens’ Assembly has recommended changes in legislation on the penalties for individuals caught in possession of drugs for personal use.

– Citizens’ Assembly Report: Calls for updated drug legislation, focusing on personal drug possession penalties.
– Health-Led Focus: Emphasizes a shift from criminal justice to health-oriented responses to drug issues.
– 36 Recommendations: Advocates for a comprehensive, health-led approach over criminal justice.
– Prison Drug Addiction: Notes over 70% of prisoners struggle with drug addiction; highlights treatment delays.
– Criminal Records Impact: Acknowledges the negative effects of criminal records on addiction recovery.
– Limited Court Alternatives: Criticizes inconsistent use of non-criminal options for drug offenders.
– Restorative Justice Proposal: Suggests formally adopting health-led alternatives within the justice system.
– Collaboration Call: Urges key organizations to develop health-focused guidelines for drug addiction cases.
– Youth Diversion: Recommends restorative justice and diversion for youth in low-level drug distribution.
Legislation for Personal Use: Proposes a health-led approach, avoiding criminal records for simple possession.
– Direct Referrals: Suggests police refer individuals for intervention to prevent problematic drug use.
– Legal Adjustments: Indicates potential changes to the Misuse of Drugs Act 1977 for this new approach.
– Diverse Opinions: Highlights varied views on legal changes, including close votes on legalizing cannabis.


The Citizens’ Assembly on Drugs Use can make an invaluable contribution to inform the Oireachtas and Government on possible approaches to drugs use in Ireland. The Citizens’ Assembly can also make a valuable contribution to a wider societal debate on drug policy.

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