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SAFE USE Legalising drugs would have a positive impact on everybody, Senator says in bid for new Ireland with non-violent dealers

A Senator says legalizing drugs would boost Ireland’s morale and non-violent drug dealers can play a role in the new Ireland.

Lynn Ruane thinks criminalization has failed, as the UK tops European drug use charts.

The Independent, which has worked in addiction services for decades, does not believe legalizing drugs will end the Kinahan cartel and other drug gangs.

She said, “Legalization can boost a country’s morale and improve drug users’ health.”

Ruane is visiting Oregon in August to investigate progressive drug laws and to “understand the legal trade”.

She insists that legal drugs exist.

SAFE USE Legalising drugs would have a positive impact on everybody, Senator says in bid for new Ireland with non-violent dealers

Cocaine was originally an anesthetic, so it’s regulated. There’s clinical cocaine.

Our Drugs Act legalizes drugs for research, so states can access clinical-grade cocaine for research.

Ruane considers legal drugs safer.

She told the Irish Sun, “We want to ensure that if people use drugs, they do so safely, know what they’re taking and that it’s not cut with other dangerous substances.”

This will help drug users, but it will also help relationships and reduce stigma.

“If something is outlawed, people assume it’s morally bad and that drug users are terrible.

“Social judgment of drug use seeps into a population’s psyche.

She added, “But legislatively, we need to talk about decriminalization and legalization.”

Despite supporting legalization, much of my work has focused on decriminalization.

SAFE USE Legalising drugs would have a positive impact on everybody,

IMPACTED MINORITY GROUPS

“Most marginalised minority groups and working-class communities are arrested.

“That’s why I’ve focused my efforts there because the legalization conversation, which we should be having, can become classist.

People only want to legalize substances they deem appropriate, but they’re used by affluent communities, not those being destroyed by them.

Senator Ruane believes there’s room for young people trapped in a life of dealing.

SHIFTING THE LEGAL MARKET

She said, “You imprison so many people for selling drugs, but most aren’t involved in drug or gang wars.”

“There are a lot of small and medium-level drug dealers who are just going about their business. You won’t hear about them in the news or through violence.

“If they’ve been selling drugs since 12, 13, 14, they could be in their 20s, 30s, or 40s with no other source of income.

If you shift that to a legal market, what happens to all those people and communities that have benefited from the black market? Whether we like that idea or not, it’s a fact.

“How should we approach drug dealers?” People are wary of drug dealers, but I’m not.

“I’d love to see big drug dealer research.”

QUITTING DRUG DEALING

“Dr. Fiona O’Reilly and I interviewed 10 middle-ranking drug dealers in 2010 about their existing strategies and what got them into and kept them in drug dealing.

“Most of them didn’t want to deal drugs because of the money and the gaps in their CVs.

“They probably started selling hash at 14 and are now in their late 20s and early 30s. Where can we work? Despite our desire to stop selling drugs.

“They’re getting older, they’re tired, I don’t want to do this anymore, there’s no exit strategy.”

“So I think first, before folding some of them into the idea of legalizing, how could you engage them and their skillset in the legalized market, in the shops, in the running of whatever they may be?”

‘MASSIVE STEP’

She added, “I think that would be a massive step towards ensuring that if we have progressive drug laws, we don’t leave people with no other option but to engage in criminal behavior.”

How will they get a job after never working?

If we want to reduce crime in addition to legalizing drugs, we must give criminals alternatives.

From 2011 to 2019, the number of young people treated for cocaine use rose by 171%, according to the HRB.

Cannabis is the most commonly used drug in Ireland, but ecstasy and cocaine use are second highest in Europe. More than a quarter of 15- to 24-year-olds have used illegal drugs in their lifetime.

DECRIMINALISATION BILL

Separately, the HRB reported that cocaine has overtaken heroin as Ireland’s main problem drug, with treatment requests tripling between 2015 and 2021.

Nearly one-third of the 10,769 drug treatment cases in 2021 involved cocaine.

Trinity College Senator from Tallaght proposed decriminalizing drugs in Seanad Eireann.

It aimed to decriminalize personal drug possession and establish drug management services.

Lynn has written a letter to An Taoiseach Micheal Martin calling for a Citizen’s Assembly on Drugs.

BLACK MARKETS

Decriminalizing possession won’t end Ireland’s Kinahan plague, she says, nor will legalization.

“Sometimes Black markets exist within legalized drugs,” she said.

“I don’t think anyone asked, ‘What’s the alternative for people in that market?’

I don’t think enough creative and brave work was done to discuss drug dealers’ options.

“There will be smaller black markets.

SAFE USE Legalising drugs would have a positive impact on everybody, Senator says in bid for new Ireland with non-violent dealers

People want to be safe, so they prefer to buy drugs from regulated places.

“You won’t eliminate the drug market, but you’ll severely damage it.”