On 2nd November, the LSE IDEAS International Drug Policy Project hosted a high-level policy planning workshop which will focus on changing drug strategies in Ireland and the United Kingdom, with a keynote speech by current Irish Minister with responsibility for the National Drugs Strategy, Aodhán O’Ríordáin.
The minister has been clear in his desire to implement evidence based, progressive drug policy in Ireland. He has spoken openly of his support for Medically Supervised Injecting Centres and has started a dialogue on decriminalisation in Ireland. He will speak on how and why Ireland is emerging as a global leader in public health oriented drug policies.
Meanwhile, the UK has been reluctant to integrate new public health models, such as Medically Supervised Injecting Centres and Heroin Assisted Treatment into its national response to drugs.
This is despite an ever growing body of evidence around their efficacy in minimising the impact and costs of drug use on society, including preventing HIV transmission, overdose deaths, crime and other social harms.
For the second part of the session, eminent Professors John Strang, of Kings College London, and Virginia Berridge, of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, lead discussions on the shifting drug policy debate in the UK and examined ways to make drug policies more effective in terms of both public health outcomes and implementation costs.
A recording of this event will be available soon.
BBC News: 'Injecting rooms' for Irish drug users proposed by Minister Aodhán Ó Ríordáin
ITV News: Decriminalisation of class A drugs on the agenda in Ireland
Irish Times: Ó Ríordáin hopes for drug decriminalisation
The Journal.ie: Our drugs minister has backed decriminalisation in a major London speech
Vice News: How Did Ireland's Drug Policy Suddenly Get So Progressive?