“No Let Up” In Efforts To Tackle Drug Gangs – Conway

Clare’s Senator insists there’ll be no let up in efforts to end the activities of Ireland’s drug gangs.

It comes as the government prepares to roll out a new health-based approach to those caught with drugs for personal use.

The move, which will see people avoid conviction for a first offence, has been welcomed in this county by some of those involved in supporting addicts.

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This ‘three strikes’ plan will take effect next year and will see people avoid conviction the first two times they’re caught.

Under the proposals a first-time offender, caught with drugs for personal use only, will be referred to the HSE for health screening and other interventions.

After that it’ll be a Garda caution – and only if they’re caught a third time, will they be brought before the courts.

The aim of the new scheme is to offer ways of dealing with drug users, other than through the criminal justice system and Clare-based addiction counsellor Ellen O’Neal is among those welcoming the measures:

The measures are to take effect in 2020 and with over 10 thousand people being arrested every year for personal drug use government admits more resources will be needed.

The plan stops short of decriminalising drugs, and the government also insists there are no plans to legalise any drugs.

Here, Fine Gael Senator Martin Conway, who has been closely involved in looking at measures to address problem drug use, says the new proposals are only one element of the war on drugs.