Drug use in Ireland is illegal, currently, if someone is caught using any kinds of illegal substances will be taken to police custody by the local law enforcement authorities (the Gardaí). Addicts will go through the treatment process of the criminal justice system, which has only a small chance that it will be successful. In addition to that, the current drug policy in Ireland could damage the life of the addicts and could also waste the manpower of the Gardaí, since they could be focusing on the tracking down of more important criminals and crimes instead of chasing simple drug users.
An expert of the case made a statement about the current drug policy of the country:
”When Gardaí arrests somebody taking heroin down a laneway there is no beneficiary. The addict is thrown into the criminal justice system which doesn’t benefit them, garda time is spent arresting this person and taxpayer money ends up being spent. The idea of decriminalisation makes mountains of sense.”
The publication of a landmark Oireachtas (the legislature of Ireland) report, which was conducted last week by the justice committee, “strongly recommended” the decriminalization of cannabis, cocaine and heroin for personal use. The report has been made after the committee accepted submissions from more than 70 interested groups and followed by a visit of a delegation to Portugal where the current policy on drugs is that the possession of small quantity of drugs does not result in a criminal record. This was quite good news for organizations that are working with drug addicts in Ireland. Tony Duffin, the director of the Ana Liffey Drug Project, one of the big organizations in the country that help addicts, made this statement:
“We feel that anything that ends the criminalization and stigmatization of young people have to be a good thing. We feel it is always better to give someone a chance at having an intervention, than putting them into the criminal justice system. I think people all over the world are looking at Ireland right now in terms of drug policy. We are seeing a lot of positive steps being taken in the past week and the response that we’re hearing has been overwhelmingly positive.”
Duffin’s viewpoint on the topic matches Tony Geoghegan’s, the chief executive of homeless and drug services group Merchant’s Quay Ireland:
“We believe it is wrong to implement a ‘one size fits all’ approach when dealing with drug addiction and that is exactly what the criminal justice system does,” he said.
The National Student Drugs Survey that has been recently conducted stated that the “drug culture” is booming in Ireland. According to the report, ecstasy use was 6% higher in Ireland than the global average while the use Ketamine was more than twice as high as anywhere else. The dark web has been also a big influence for Irish drug users. According to the survey, almost every fifth user purchased his or her substances from dark net markets. Most of the users who use the dark web for buying their stuff are using this method since the products on the marketplaces are better quality ones than street drugs. Some of them prefer using DNMs (dark net markets) since it is easier, you don’t have to call your dealer and go out in the middle of the night, instead you wait for the postman to arrive with your much-desired drugs. Speaking anonymously, one Irish drug user who buys his drugs from the dark web stated:
“People are definitely using the dark web to purchase drugs here in Ireland and I would personally know a number of people who have used the service. Although the number is small, there are vendors online offering to ship drugs to Ireland with some claiming to operate from within the country itself.”
Since one in five of the drug users use dark net marketplaces, the Gardaí and other local law enforcement agencies have spent significant time and manpower tracking down and intercepting packages. Garda Drugs Organised Crime Bureau Detective Sergeant Brian Roberts made this statement regarding the case:
“One of the modern challenges of drug policing globally is the availability of controlled drugs on the open internet and on encrypted layers of the internet known as the dark web. A Garda Síochána proactively monitors these marketplaces and working together with customs, postal packages are regularly intercepted and prosecutions ensue where a criminal offence is disclosed.”