‘Help Not Harm’ symposium
The 'Help Not Harm' campaign aims to shift the approach to drugs from criminal justice to public health for access to harm reduction, education and treatment.
According to them Help Not Harm website the organisation aims to open a dialogue around Ireland's ineffective and punitive approach to drugs.
Having engaged in Dáil Éireann with Ministers and the Oireachtas Justice Committee, Help Not Harm believes the current approach to criminalising the possession of small quantities of drugs should be re-evaluated and priority should be given towards a holistic approach including health.
Help Not Harm calls on the government and candidates in the upcoming General Election to consider including the following items on their agenda:
• shift the emphasis around drugs to a public health issue instead of a criminal justice issue.
• put savings from criminalisation into better education for society and more effective treatment.
• promote harm reduction and evidence-based policies such as drug decriminalisation in Portugal and the other EU-member States.
Help Not Harm held a pre-election Symposium in Buswell's hotel in February. It was billed as a unique opportunity for politicians, policy makers, professionals and campaigners to critically examine current drug policy and showcase innovative new policies being developed across the world.
Below are some of the presentations from the day:
Cormac O'Keefe, Crime Correspondent for Irish Examiner talks to Aodhan o'Riordan, TD and Jonathan O'Brien, TD
Damon Barrett, Director of the International Centre on Human Rights and Drug Policy
Dr.Catherine Comiskey, Centre for Practice and Healthcare Innovation, Trinity College Dublin.
Fr Peter McVerry
Mark Kelly, Irish Council for Civil Liberties