Ireland Decriminalizes Small Amounts of Drugs and Legalizes "Injection Rooms"

Published On 11/02/2015 Published On 11/02/2015
Shutterstock/ r.classen

Ireland, real-life home of the Blarney Stone (it's true, I asked) and definitely not the home of the Lucky Charms Leprechaun (not true, I asked), took a bold stance in the war on drugs by decriminalizing small amounts of narcotics, and creating so-called "injection rooms" where users can safely -- and more importantly, legally -- use injection-based drugs under medical supervision. 

Irish Minister of Drugs Aodhán Ó Ríordáin (yes, he is Irish) told the Irish Times that the injection rooms and decriminalization of small amounts of drugs -- including marijuana, cocaine, and heroin -- for personal use will be rolled out sometime in the next year, marking a "radical cultural shift" in the country's perception and treatment of drug addicts.

“I am firmly of the view that there needs to be a cultural shift in how we regard substance misuse if we are to break this cycle and make a serious attempt to tackle drug and alcohol addiction,” said Ó Ríordáin, according to the aforementioned Irish Times piece. 

Mr. Ó Ríordáin is quick to say, however, that he doesn't envision the new laws to create a "free-for-all" for drug use, and that it certainly isn't his intention to do so. He states that the impetus behind the decision is to remove the stigma and shame of addiction and drug use that often makes things even worse for those in need, and to create a central idea of help in place of punishment, particularly for the destitute and homeless. This move comes in the wake of similar (and successful) movements from countries like Portugal, which have taken a "softer" stance on the punishments and treatment of drug users. 

And -- just to be clear -- it will not become legal to sell, distribute, or profit from drugs or drug use. “This will be a wider discussion under the next government but once people get their head around the argument, about what decriminalisation actually means, that policy won’t be about the drug but about the individual. Then regardless of the drug the individual needs an intervention and society will be saying, ‘the substance is illegal, but you are not a criminal for taking it," Ó Ríordáin said. 

h/t Irish Times

Wil Fulton is a Staff Writer for Thrillist. He thinks fortune favors the bold. And also the rich. Follow him @wilfulton

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