Last August, the Government announced a landmark change in the legal approach to those caught in possession of drugs for personal use.
Under the system, people who are caught, for the first time, by gardaí in possession of drugs for personal use will be referred to a health intervention.
Those who are caught a second time will be subject to garda discretion, who may divert them again to the health services.
For a third, or subsequent offence, the person will be arrested, as currently, and processed through the criminal justice system and possibly receive a conviction.
The new system, set to be in place by autumn 2020, is based on the report of a State working group which ruled out decriminalisation of drug possession.
Asked about spending on the National Drugs Strategy under Budget 2020, the Department of Health said €200,000 had been provided for the Health Diversion Programme. It said the “phased implementation” will begin in Q3 (July-September) 2020.
Source: Cormac O'Keeffe, Irish Examiner, 17th October 2019