Drug use is fast becoming a topic for legal officials who are looking to scale back the stigma of drug users. In an interview with The Irish Times, Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, Ireland's Minister of State for The National Drugs Strategy, announced plans to decriminalize the personal use of drugs like cocaine, heroin and marijuana.
"Too often those with drug problems suffer from stigma, due to a lack of understanding or public education about the nature of addiction. This stigma can be compounded for those who end up with a criminal record due to possession of drugs for their own use."
It's interesting to note that supervised heroin injecting has already been in practice in Dublin and, do to the positive response, Ireland is looking to expand this concept in areas like Cork, Galway and Limerick. They believe that "clinically controlled environments" will help to reduce negative feelings about drug use.
"I am firmly of the view 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. Research has shown that the use of supervised injecting centres is associated with self-reported reductions in injecting risk behaviours."
To clarify this concept, the sale of illegal drugs will not be effected by the decriminalization. This concept is mainly to rid the taboo that drug use is often associated with. Educating the public on the dangers of drug abuse while also scaling back the use by drug addicts will hopefully produce a positive change in society. This follows Portugal's recent decriminalization and other countries are looking to follow suite.