By Lynn Ruane

DRUG COURTS, WHICH which differ from other courts in Ireland, were set up with the aim of reducing crime through drug rehabilitation. 

Under this system, you are a person most likely experiencing problematic drug use, yet you are considered an offender, not a participant or patient of the drug courts. 

Offender and health are not terms we consider as being complementary to one another.

The Drug Courts recruit based on a guilty plea and prescribe to a clean urine programme, which rules out many other drug users who are harder to reach, engage and support due to the chaotic nature of their drug use.  

There is another way

Imagine if we had a localised multi-agency and disciplinary team, consisting of nurses, drugs workers, counsellors and educators.

Well, in many areas we do, or we can have with the right resources and policy support. 

A Drug Court has many of these, but a judge oversees it, and your involvement is court-ordered, and your addiction is still an offence.  

It is just another system that will benefit a tiny percentage of drug users, and to succeed, you have to be a model patient, or in this case, offender.