Home > Review essay. The war on drugs: reports from the Irish front.

Butler, Shane (1997) Review essay. The war on drugs: reports from the Irish front. Economic and Social Review , 28 , (2) , pp. 157-175.

This article presented a review of T. Murphy's book Rethinking the war on drugs in Ireland (1997), and of the First report of the Ministerial Task Force on Measures to Reduce the Demand for Drugs (1996). Butler defined the term 'war on drugs', locating its origins in the United States during the Nixon administration. He described Murphy's text as 'the only sustained critique of Irish drug policy' (p. 158)to be published in Ireland since the late 1960s. He evaluated not only the validity of its main argument, but also the contribution it could make to debate on drug policy in Ireland. He concluded that Murphy's argument for the legalisation of drugs was valid, as it showed the ambiguous moral basis for prohibiting drugs in Ireland, given the fact that the Irish are not fundamentally opposed to mood-altering drugs.

Murphy also argued that the 'war on drugs' approach added to the problems of drug users and society. Butler suggested that, when read in the context of the First report of the Ministerial Task Force, Murphy's book 'seems excessively rational and almost indecently explicit in its coverage of drug policy issues' (p. 173). He believed it to be far ahead of its time, and stated that 'the Irish policy climate is not yet ready for the rationality and the radicalism of Murphy's critique' (p. 173). Change away from the 'war on drugs' approach was taking place, Butler believed, but it was a slow and gradual process, to which Murphy's book would only contribute in time.

 

Item Type:Article
Date:April 1997
Page Range:pp. 157-175
Publisher:ESRI
Volume:28
Number:2
EndNote:View
Subjects:MP-MR Policy, planning, economics, work and social services > Policy > Policy on substance use > Supply reduction policy
VA Geographic area > Europe > Ireland
MP-MR Policy, planning, economics, work and social services > Policy > Policy on substance use

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