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[thejournal.ie] To fight the drug problem, we must treat users with compassion. (10 Feb 2012)

URL: http://www.thejournal.ie/readme/column-to-fight-th...

The Health Research Board recently reported the number of deaths caused by drugs in Ireland has risen by 51 per cent over a six-year period.

Research has shown that 638 people died in 2009, compared with 422 in 2004. Alcohol was accountable for 40 per cent of all poisoning deaths during the six-year period, while heroin caused 21 per cent.

In 2001, in response to the continuing rise of fatal overdoses and HIV, Portugal introduced a new policy which it decriminalised the use and possession of illicit street drugs. Since the new drugs policy was introduced the overdose rates and HIV rates have reduced and this has reduced the amount of addicts being sent to prison and increased the number accessing treatment.


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