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Home > Submission to the public consultation on the decriminalisation of the personal possession of illegal drugs.

Simon Communities of Ireland. (2018) Submission to the public consultation on the decriminalisation of the personal possession of illegal drugs. Dublin: Simon Communities of Ireland.

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The Simon Communities in Ireland welcome the opportunity to make a submission to the public consultation on personal possession of illegal drugs. Problematic drug and/or alcohol use can put people at an increased risk of homelessness, and can also be caused and exacerbated by traumatic life experiences, including homelessness. Homeless drug and alcohol users tend to use drugs and alcohol more frequently, in increased quantities and in ways that increasingly put their lives at risk.

 

Risk behaviour correlates with housing instability with those rough sleeping and in emergency accommodation experiencing the highest levels of risk behaviour.1 As acknowledged in the National Drug Strategy - Reducing Harm, Supporting Recovery, criminal convictions acquired for problematic drug use can represent a serious impediment to moving on from drug misuse and involvement in crime, particularly in the areas of access to employment, housing and travel. This brief submission firstly outlines the prevalence of problematic drug use amongst people experiencing homelessness.

 

This is followed by an examination of the linkages between experiences of homelessness, trauma and problematic drug use. Thereafter, this submission focuses on the decriminalisation of personal drug use, using the Portuguese model as an example of best practice. Following this, a brief exploration of complimentary harm reduction measures is outlined.

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