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My Irish Eyes Are Smiling

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Ireland has announced plans to decriminalize drugs, including heroin and cocaine, in the near future along with needle exchange programs. However, this is not just another blip reform like Portugal in the 1990s. I expect the United Nations to issue new guidelines regarding the war on drugs. The current guidelines call for a tough war on drugs that the United States sponsors. The new guidelines should call for an across the board end to the war on drugs (military force, tough prison sentences, widespread violations of civil liberties). In its place, the consumption of all drugs, such as heroin and cocaine, will be decriminalized and marijuana will be legalized. Large-scale dealers would continued to be prosecuted, but relaxing those provisions would also be subject to change. Once the United Nations acts expect many countries to follow Ireland's lead, or legislate what has been de facto decriminalization in many countries. This is a step in the right direction.

The evidence so far shows that decriminalization leads to improvements in all social indicators related to drug abuse.

According to Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, the minister in charge of Ireland's National Drugs Strategy, the country is in need of a "radical cultural shift" that includes decriminalizing small amounts of cocaine, heroin and marijuana for personal use, the Irish Times reports.

"I am firmly of the view that there needs to be a cultural shift in how we regard substance misuse if we are to break this cycle and make a serious attempt to tackle drug and alcohol addiction," Ó Ríordáin said on Monday, according to the Irish Times.




Contact Mark Thornton

Mark Thornton is the Peterson-Luddy Chair in Austrian Economics and a Senior Fellow at the Mises Institute. He is the book review editor of the Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics, and has authored seven books and is a frequent guest on national radio shows.