The Seanad will debate a bill on decriminalisation of the possession of drugs for personal use today 3 years ago

The Seanad will debate a bill on decriminalisation of the possession of drugs for personal use today

The debate will be streamed live.

Independent Senator for Trinity College, Lynn Ruane, will introduce a Private Members’ Bill in Seanad Éireann on Wednesday evening, titled the Controlled Drugs and Harm Reduction Bill 2017.

It will be debated in the Seanad from 4:30 pm - 6:30 pm and will be streamed live on Oireachtas TV.

The bill provides for the decriminalisation of the possession of controlled drugs for personal use as well as establishing a Drug Dissuasion Service.

This service will case-manage persons found in possession of controlled drugs and diverts people away from the courts by providing a system of harm reduction measures, including drug awareness, drug rehabilitation and community engagement programmes.

The bill is co-signed and seconded by former Minister of State for the National Drugs Strategy Senator Aodhán Ó Ríordáin and is supported by the Labour Party, the Green Party and a significant number of independent senators.

Speaking in advance of the debate, Senator Ruane said: “As a former addiction programme developer and community worker in west Dublin, I have seen first-hand the destructive impact of the criminalisation of drugs and how it has destroyed lives and whole communities."

Ruane added: "The criminal justice system is no place to deal with the complex issues of drug use and drug abuse. I am introducing this legislation because we need to recognise the reality that people take drugs and that our response can and should be targeted, well-informed by evidence and one that will ensure that people get the help that they need.

"Ireland’s first supervised injecting facility will soon be opening. It is increasingly obvious that the measures laid out in the bill are the logical next step. I look forward to debating this bill and I call on all senators to give this legislation their full support."

A copy of the bill and an explanatory memo can be read on Lynn Ruane's website.