Sunday 4 December 2016

We cannot decriminalise drugs without having a proper debate first

Published 13/11/2015 | 02:30

Aodhán Ó Ríordáin: The minister is looking calls to decriminalise drugs based on the Portuguese experience. But what has happened in Portugal is open to debate. It seems to have had good and bad effects
Aodhán Ó Ríordáin: The minister is looking calls to decriminalise drugs based on the Portuguese experience. But what has happened in Portugal is open to debate. It seems to have had good and bad effects

Is it true that 82pc of Irish third-level students have tried illegal drugs? That's a massive figure. It comes from a study called the National Student Drug Survey.

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This online survey received valid responses from 2,700 students, a big number. But were these students representative of the entire population of students, or were those students most likely to use drugs also the ones most likely to take part in the survey thereby distorting the result? That's an important question.

One reason it's important is because Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, the minister with responsibility for our drugs policy, is using the figure to argue that criminalising drug use "is not deterring drug use in Ireland".

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