Citizens’ Assembly on Drugs Use

A missed opportunity

Sir, – The Citizens’ Assembly on Drugs Use now has just one meeting left before it concludes. It should really have been called the Citizens’ Assembly on Addiction and Recovery because that’s all it’s been about. Out of more than 100 hours of testimony, just seven minutes were given to a presentation about regulation of the cannabis market, the drug that most people come into contact with. The focus should have been on the reason the assembly was called in the first place, how to reform our outdated drug laws which harass and criminalise the 90 per cent of non-problematic users and make it almost impossible for the 10 per cent with problems to recover. The witnesses that the chair, Paul Reid, has called to give evidence are almost exclusively from the HSE, the Civil Service and publicly funded treatment services. Establishment voices, with few exceptions, except for disproportionate time given to harrowing testimony of those suffering from problematic use, a tiny cohort, massively over-represented. This has been a huge missed opportunity to develop a new drugs policy that is fit for purpose in the 21st century.

Would any Government that was serious about change have appointed the ex-CEO of the HSE as chair, a man inextricably linked with the failed policies of the past? – Yours, etc,




Co Kerry.