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Moving forward by changing the narrative ucc

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Presentation at the UCC Journalism Society

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Moving forward by changing the narrative ucc

  1. 1. Tim Bingham Independent Researcher 8th Annual UCC Journalism Conference University College Cork 12th February 2016 MOVING FORWARD BY CHANGING THE NARRATIVE
  2. 2. NATIONAL STUDENT DRUG SURVEY  82% of students have tried illegal drugs  Why they do not use illegal drugs 16% health consequences and 9% due to criminality  Why they do consume illegal drugs fun (27%), curiosity (19%) and“ switching off” (13%). Among the lowest is peer pressure at 6% Bingham.T, O’Driscoll, C. and De Barra, G. National Student Drug Survey 2015
  3. 3. WORLD HEALTH ORGANISATION Diseases and Health Problems (ICD-10) defines the dependence syndrome as being a cluster of physiological, behavioural, and cognitive phenomena in which the use of a substance or a class of substances takes on a much higher priority for a given individual than other behaviours that once had greater value.
  4. 4. DECRIMINALISATION PATIENTS NOT CRIMINALS
  5. 5. Victims of Human Trafficking treated as Criminals
  6. 6. PUBLIC OPINION Public antipathy towards people who use or are dependent on drugs is amplified by terminology used in media reporting. Principle 8 on Prejudice
  7. 7. MEDIA HEADLINES
  8. 8. SEE THE NEEDLE NOT THE PERSON ADDICT CLEAN DRUG ABUSER JUNKIE
  9. 9. PATIENT
  10. 10. Some studies have found that local policing tactics can contribute to increased health risks for PWUDs. E.g, the criminalisation of drug possession encourages people who inject drugs (PWIDs) to inject hurriedly in unsafe environments and increasing risks of transmitting bloodborne viruses Generally, prohibition of drugs increases their price, which can encourage users to inject (rather than smoke or snort) in order to maximise their intake from a limited supply. The transition to injection is itself associated with major health risks internationally Applying harm reduction principles to the policing of retail drug markets Alex Stevens 2013
  11. 11. Criminalisation – and the associated stigma and discrimination – frequently pushes drug use into unhygienic and unsupervised marginal environments, increasing risks. It can additionally deter the hardest- to-reach individuals from seeking treatment, for fear of condemnation, judgement or arrest.
  12. 12. NO WAY OUT Its my job, too much depends on it. I have accumulated high amounts of debt it is like a revolving door. Your owed money and you owe money” There was also the sense that this was their identity not something that could be slipped out of O’Reilly & Ruane (2011)
  13. 13. DECRIMINALISATION AND MEDICALLY SUPERVISED INJECTING CENTRES “I believe that this kind of approach will only work if it is accompanied by timely treatment and harm reduction services, backed up by wrap-around supports which foster recovery – such as housing, health and social care. “Above all, the model must be person-centred and involve an integrated approach to treatment and rehabilitation based on a continuum of care with clearly defined referral pathways.” Minister Aodhán Ó Ríordáin – London School of Economics November 2nd
  14. 14. PORTUGAL & CZECH REPUBLIC  The Czech Republic and Portugal have decriminalised possession of small amounts of drugs so the state can focus resources on prevention and treatment rather than overcrowded prisons.  Czech Republic - While drugs remain illegal, most people caught in possession of drugs for their own use receive an administrative fine rather than a criminal record.  Brendan Hughes, legal analyst at the EMCDDA, said “The decriminalisation is a red herring. It’s the dissuasion panels that make Portugal unique.
  15. 15. o Up until recently Ireland was the only country in the EU to not have any scheme o Less than a 12-month custodial sentence or 24-month suspended sentence not subsequently revoked o Become spent after 7 years o One other conviction received in the district or circuit court, for which the sanction received was less than a 12-month custodial sentence or 24-month suspended sentence not subsequently revoked. Flaws in the Bill to enable Rehabilitation o Remove the cap on the number of convictions that may become spent o Need to be proportionate relationship between the nature of the sanction and the rehabilitation period, rather than the blanket 7 year period for all sanctions, whether a small fine or 12 months in prison.
  16. 16. The unintended consequence[of international drug control] is the way we perceive and deal with the users of illicit drugs. A system appears to have been created in which those who fall into the web of addiction find themselves excluded and marginalized from the social mainstream, tainted with a moral stigma, and often unable to find treatment even when they may be motivated to want it.” United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime 2008 World Drug Report
  17. 17. CONTACT DETAILS Tim Bingaham Email : info@timbingham.ie Twitter :@binghaminfo Website www.timbingham.ie

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