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Government drugs bill a lazy and careless response to drugs problem – Quinlivan

7 July, 2016 - by Maurice Quinlivan TD

Sinn Féin TD Maurice Quinlivan has slammed the government’s legislation that would make the sale of certain tablets and medications a criminal offence. Speaking in the Dáil during debate on the Misuse of Drugs (Amendment) Bill 2016, Deputy Quinlivan said:

“Successive governments have not, even in the boom times, devoted enough resources to ensure that we can tackle the blight that is drug abuse.

“For instance, my own constituency of Limerick City has no local drugs task force. We have no Detoxification centre and yet we clearly have a worsening drugs problem.

“Limerick, like the rest of the country, needs detox spaces, properly resourced drug treatment services, and an end to policies that reproduce deprivation and socio-economic exclusion in communities.

 “This legislation will do nothing to address this fundamental issue or to lessen the increase in drug use. 

“In Limerick, drugs are still a huge factor in the city’s informal economy and criminal elements continue to make huge profits while destroying communities and trading in misery.

“It’s high time for the Criminal Assets Bureau to be expanded and for the Government to amend the Proceeds of Crime Acts to ensure money seized by CAB goes back into communities affected by drugs.

“If the Government had the political will to fund community organisations across the state, it could do so by diverting such funds to local drugs task force projects.

“The Mid-West Regional Drug and Alcohol Forum have taken cuts of more than 50% since 2008. The cuts have impacted massively on the delivery of vital services that are urgently needed in Limerick City.

“We can bury our heads in the sand and pretend that criminalizing already disadvantaged communities will help to solve this problem.

“This bill shows no signs of awareness or progressive thinking by government on this issue.

“This legislation will not work as it does not address the root cause of the problem which is intergenerational disadvantage, marginalization, and the political indifference of middle-class elites.” 

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