The vast majority of young LGBT+ people believe that drug laws should be changed to decriminalise the possession of drugs, a new BeLonG To survey revealed.
Of the 200 respondents in the survey, 83% of LGBT+ young people believed that the current Irish drug laws need to change.
The respondents made it clear that the current legislation makes it difficult to find information and works to prevent them from seeking help in dangerous situations.
You don’t know fully what you’re taking – making it even more dangerous
In a press release, BeLonG To revealed some of the anonymous responses.
“It makes it impossible to know the source/origin of drugs, and so, you don’t know fully what you’re taking – making it even more dangerous,” one respondent said while another explained that “It’s hard to get drugs that are not lace with dangerous chemicals.”
Almost three quarters (73%) of young LGBT+ people surveyed felt they didn’t have access to information which would allow them to make safe choices about drugs.
Teens still have sex, and they still do drugs
Survey respondents compared the current policy around drug education to abstinence-only sex education.
“Teens still have sex, and they still do drugs,” said one participant.
“Young people are only ever told to not take drugs, and they are never given information on how to take drugs safely,” another disclosed.
It’s A Matter Of Health
BeLonG To Director, Moninne Griffith, said that the national LGBT+ youth service fully supports the decriminalisation of drugs for personal use.
Griffith referenced Portugal’s “huge increases” in drug users seeking treatment since 2001’s decriminalisation of drugs and indicated that such a model “is possible for Ireland”.
Instead of criminal sanctions we need to offer support
“We believe that drug use should be treated as a health care issue – not a criminal issue. From listening to our young people, we know that the narrative around drugs in Ireland needs to change.
“Instead of criminal sanctions in response to drug possession with devastating repercussions on career, travel and education prospects, we need to offer support and knowledge in line with harm reduction approaches.”
Griffith’s statement comes shortly after Leo Varadkar announced that decriminalisation of the possession of small amounts of drugs is being considered by an expert group.
Do you think that a lack of harm-reduction information around drugs is negatively impacting young LGBT+ people? Let us know in the comments below.
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