Drug Reform

Drug Reform

The work of various Citizens’ Assemblies in recent years has had an important role in helping change the narrative around a number of issues where this type of moral judgement has been at the foundation of policy, and we hope this Assembly will do similarly.

The document below is the Social Democrats’ submission to the Citizens’ Assembly on Drugs Use.

We have ample evidence around the conditions that pre-dispose people to problem drug use, including socio-economic factors, and mental health issues. Tackling socio-economic and educational disadvantage, helping everyone to realise their potential and become fully participating members of society, has broader benefits that just in relation to drug use, but it a hugely important part of how we should approach this area.

In general, using moral judgement as a basis for shaping social policy creates shame and stigma. The criminalisation of what we know to be a health issue means that the bulk of the negative fallout lands on those already marginalised.

The Social Democrats believe that in line with international best-practice, a policy of decriminalisation should be pursued in respect of the possession of drugs for personal consumption.

Decriminalisation must be combined with a broader health-based approach to addiction, increased funding for treatment and services, and a comprehensive plan to tackle poverty and deprivation underpinning our approach to drugs.

Just because drug use is decriminalised doesn’t mean it’s a recommended activity. We also call for a far greater emphasis on education and prevention than is currently the case.

Our Drug Reform Priorities

  • Decriminalisation of drugs for personal consumption
  • Increased funding for treatment and health services
  • Better supports for Community Drug Services
  • Improved education and prevention campaigns around drugs
  • Additional police resources aimed at drug dealers who focus their attention on children

We believe that an expert Commission to examine the possible legalisation, regulation and taxation of cannabis should be established.

Find Out More

You can read more about our policies in our submission to the Citizens’ Assembly on Drugs Use policy document, linked below.

Drug Reform Policy

Submission to the Citizens' Assembly

View Submission