National drug strategy


Sir, – Your editorial “Drugs and alcohol: putting health centre-stage” (July 20th), on the Government’s new national drug strategy Reducing Harm, Supporting Recovery, suggests that placing the health and social needs of the addict, and those of families and communities, at the core of the strategy facilitates the proposed move to decriminalise the possession of very small amounts of proscribed drugs.

At the global level, drug interdiction policies have led to the proliferation of drug-related crime. With demand for illicit drugs insensitive to price, taking supply off the streets simply leads to higher prices and the onslaught of drug turf wars.

You conclude that “a fully resourced and compassionate health-driven drug strategy pursued vigorously for the next 10 years has a realistic chance of success”. I agree, but only if public policy tackles the market for drugs on both the demand side (sustained and well-resourced educational programmes on the harm of drug abuse) and on the supply side to legalise drug use. – Yours, etc,


Lecturer in Economics

and Finance,

Faculty of Engineering

and the Built Environment,

Dublin Institute

of Technology, Dublin 1.

Sir, – I am intrigued that Thursday’s Irish Times carried letters on “recreational drugs” and “alcohol” under separate sectional headings.

The distinction is a fine one, and seems to consist in the fact that, whereas the purveyors of the former operate outside the law, those marketing the latter are able to influence, to put it mildly, the laws under which they themselves operate.

That being so, would both subjects not have fitted comfortably under headline “Recreational drugs”? – Yours, etc,



Co Dublin.

Sir, – At last, a little new thinking regarding an old problem, the misuse of drugs. Maybe there is something in this “new politics” after all. – Yours, etc,


Dublin 3.