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(2013) Criminalising addiction: is there another way? Drugnet Ireland, Issue 47, Autumn 2013, p. 7.

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This was the title of a conference hosted by CityWide Drugs Crisis Campaign in Dublin on 21 May 2013. The objective was to start an evidence-based debate on Ireland’s current drug policies and the alternatives.1 

Some 120 participants from community drug projects, voluntary projects, youth services, drugs task forces, government departments and universities attended the conference at which four speakers made presentations – Brigid Pike, Health Research Board (HRB); Liam Herrick, Irish Penal Reform Trust (IPRT); Johnny Connolly, HRB; and Niamh Eastwood, Release.  Brief reports on these presentations are provided in the following pages.2
Following the presentations, participants took part in table discussions on the barriers to decriminalisation and what the international evidence tells us about the issue. There was general, but not complete, agreement that the evidence for decriminalisation is convincing, while the issues around legalisation appear to be complicated. It was also noted that the underlying issues of poverty and social disadvantage remain crucial to addressing the impact of drugs on the lives of people, families and communities.
In closing the conference, the chairperson of CityWide, Anna Quigley, stated that the conference was a first step. CityWide plans further steps to promote the debate.
1.  The conference was organised on foot of a commitment made by CityWide in 2012 to hold an open debate on decriminalisation. See Higgins M (2012) The drugs crisis: a new agenda for action. Dublin: CityWide. www.drugsandalcohol.ie/17145  
2.  A written report on the conference and videos of the four presentations are available at www.citywide.ie/news/2013/05/27
Item Type
Publication Type
Irish-related, Open Access, Article
Drug Type
Substances (not alcohol/tobacco)
Intervention Type
Crime prevention, Policy
Issue Title
Issue 47, Autumn 2013
Page Range
p. 7
Health Research Board
Issue 47, Autumn 2013
Accession Number
HRB (Electronic Only)

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