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Most men think decriminalising drugs is a good idea - but women aren't so sure

The government is considering decriminalising the possession of a small amount of drugs like heroin, cannabis and cocaine.

File photo
File photo
Image: PA Wire/Press Association Images

NEARLY HALF OF people in Ireland are against the proposal to no longer make it a criminal offence for a person to possess a small amount of drugs for personal use, according to a new poll.

However, there is significantly stronger backing for the idea among men with 51% favouring the decriminalisation idea compared to 35% of women.

The findings of the Claire Byrne Live/Amárach Research poll show that 43% of all people favour decriminalisation, while 46% are against it. Eleven per cent said they don’t know.

The poll indicates a general split amongst the public in their views on the proposal put forward by Drugs Minister Aodhán Ó Ríordáin this week.

In a speech in London this week, Ó Ríordáin said he favoured the decriminalisation model used in Portugal where, since 2001, possession and use of small quantities of certain drugs is treated as a public health issue rather than a criminal one.

“I am in favour of a decriminalisation model, but it must be one that suits the Irish context and be evidence based,” Ó Ríordáin told an audience at the London School of Economics.

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It’s reported that decriminalisation in Ireland could be applied to drugs including cannabis, heroin and cocaine where the possession of  small amount for personal use would not be subject to criminal sanctions.

The majority of people aged between 18 and 24 (54%) are against the idea while regionally the strongest support for the proposal is in Dublin where 46% think it’s a good idea.

Read: Our drugs minister has backed decriminalisation in a major London speech

Read: What can Ireland learn from a country that decriminalised drugs?

About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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