#SaferFromHarm is a civil society campaign to decriminalise people who use drugs.
Possession of drugs for personal use has been a crime in Ireland for over forty years, but over that period the number of people using drugs has increased dramatically, as has the harm caused by drugs. Criminalising people causes significant harm. Rather than providing services and interventions, people are labeled criminals, adding to the stigma and shame.
When people are criminalised for possession of small amounts of drugs for personal use, the stigma they face can often negatively impact on securing a job or travelling outside of Ireland later in life, further compounding their shame. Very often, those criminalised are already facing challenges in their lives and come from backgrounds where opportunities have been limited.
If we do not respond with help and support, it can result in more problems and further encounters with the criminal justice system, leading people down a path they did not see for themselves, a life they did not choose.
What would an alternative approach look like?
We would like to see the adoption of a health based approach to the possession of small quantities of drugs for personal use, a trend we are seeing internationally.
This is a compassionate and pragmatic response, grounded in the best available evidence.
This is an opportunity to make an early intervention, when it matters the most, and provide those in need with guidance and support.
This can help reduce harm, support recovery and rebuild lives.
In 2017, there were over 12,000 recorded incidents of possession of drugs for personal use, representing over 72% of all recorded drug offences .
8 in 10 Irish adults are in favour of intervention from health professionals when it comes to their loved ones using drugs.
51% of the population disagree that their loved one should be prosecuted in court or arrested due to their drug use or possession
1 in 4 are unsure about how we should respond.
That’s why we’ve come together to create a space to address any concerns people may have.