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Home > Address by Minister Aodhán Ó Ríordáin T.D.

(2015) Address by Minister Aodhán Ó Ríordáin T.D. In: London School of Economics IDEAS Forum, 2 November, London.

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Firstly, I would like to thank Doctor John Collins of the LSE IDEAS International Drug Policy Project for inviting me to give the key note address at today’s drug policy planning workshop.  It is truly a great honour to share the platform this afternoon with such eminent policy makers, experts, academics and practitioners.

The drug problem is a constantly changing phenomenon.    Governments around the world are constantly trying to play catch up to deal with a very sophisticated and lucrative market.    If we are to make any headway in addressing the problem, we need to review, renew and revise our drug policies to meet emerging challenges.

As we prepare for the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on the World Drug Problem in 2016, we have a real opportunity to have a constructive, comprehensive and wide ranging debate on our approach to this complex problem.   I believe that we need to be radical and change how we think and talk about drug addiction. We need to have discussions like today in think tanks, universities, parliaments and small rooms across the globe so that we can develop a more modern and comprehensive response to tackling drug trafficking and consumption.

From my work as a teacher and principal in Dublin’s North Inner City for many years, I am acutely aware of the devastating consequences of drug abuse for those using drugs, their families and the wider community as a whole.

Drug addiction affects all demographics; rich and poor as well as young and old.  Often there can be an intergenerational cycle of alcohol and drug misuse where young people’s attitudes are not only influenced by their peers, but also coloured by the behaviour and attitudes of an older generation.   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.......

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