2014 Review: July to December

Hello and welcome to the 2014 review where we look back at some of the stories that made the headlines last year. It was another year of activism, politics, busts, convictions and the usual shenanigans.

In this second of two parts we look at events that took place between July and December. The first part looked at January to June and can be read here



“The majority of people in prison today are there because of their addiction. We need to treat drug misuse, as we do alcohol misuse, as a health and social problem rather than a criminal justice problem” – Fr Peter McVerry wrote a piece for the Irish Times about why we need a u-turn on drug policy, but sadly it is behind a paywall now

Reports emerged that cannabis based medicine Sativex would be soon available for MS patients and later in the month it was made official. However it was then reported that it will be the new year before Sativex is available

It was reported that cannabis could be used to reduce tumour growth in cancer patients

The new Health Minister Leo Varadkar promised to take up direct responsibility for the areas of drug and alcohol policy

Cannabis plants began to pop up in public places in Mullingar

The Irish Times reported on the slow advance of the changing laws on marijuana in the US

A Wexford councillor called for the legalisation of cannabis in his local paper

It was reported that there were 28,851 cannabis plants seized during 2013 from a total of 394 “cultivation or manufacture incidents”

‘We’ve reached our limit’ – over 1,000 people attend anti-drugs rally in Roscrea




An Irish Times article argued that reform is more radical than the ‘war on drugs’ and that shortcomings in the repressive-only approach is forcing a change of tactics in global policy

It was reported that Irish youth drug use is now above the EU average

Over 1000 people attended a legalise cannabis protest which took place in Dublin

The ice-bong challenge emerged during the ice bucket challenge, however I am not sure how widespread it became.

A reported labelled drug use and staff shortages as the main issues in the Irish prison system

It was reported that 16% of young Irish people have used cannabis in the last 30 days

Martin Condon, SSDP CIT chapter founder, wrote about why he fights for sensible drug policy

Most young Irish people think that cannabis should be legalised according to a study by the European Commission

There were calls for supervised injecting centres as ‘far more people die from overdose than on Irish roads’




Marc and Jodie Emery were in Ireland during the month as part of a European tour. You can read about their visit and see some videos in my blog post

It was reported that rolling a ‘joint’ cost a doctor €10,000 in court fines

President Michael D Higgins officially opened a major extension of Teach Mhuire, an addiction centre in Gardiner Street in inner city Dublin

Sniffer dogs searched Leinster House and Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan jokingly breathes a sigh of relief via a funny tweet




It was reported that cannabis have overtaken drink as a problem drug for young people.

Irish Times journalist Jennifer O’Connell wrote about how she would legalise cannabis, but not gladly

Concerns were raised after the National Centre for Pharmaco-Economics finds cannabis based medicine Sativex is not cost-effective

RTE researchers ordered hash online for a Prime Time programme

500 cannabis plants were found in a Westmeath house

It was reported that Ireland to include prostitution, drugs, and smuggled cigarettes in GDP figures

It was reported that policing is having little impact on Ireland’s drug market

A DCU student suggested he was forced to sell drugs to put himself through college

Health Minister Leo Varadkar gave the go-ahead for relatives and friends of heroin addicts to be allowed to administer a life-saving injection if they overdose

Drug addicts who are dealing to feed their own habit should be diverted into treatment rather than prosecuted before the courts, according to an addiction service




An opinion piece on thejournal.ie argued that marijuana is legal in nearly half of US States and that Ireland should follow suit

Professor of Economics Ron Davies suggested that cannabis could be worth around 562m a year to the economy and this is a conservative figure.

It was announced that under a new law gardaí will soon be able to use handheld devices to test drivers for drugs at the roadside

Dr Adam Winstock, the founder of Global Drug Survey and a Consultant Psychiatrist, wrote a piece for thejournal.ie in which he argued, that we have guidelines for alcohol’s use aimed at reducing the long-term risk of health harms. So why not have guidelines for drugs?

The global drug survey 2015 was launched

SSDP Ireland were criticial of an information awareness campaign against drug users by DLRPA

It was reported that roadside dug testing of drivers is set to become law



Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan has sent to the European Commission a written question on the legalisation of cannabis for medicinal and recreational use in the European Union. They are compelled to reply within six weeks

Tanasite and Labour leader Joan Burton accidentally posed with a fake giant spliff during a visit to an art exhibition

It was reported that GW Pharma, the cannabis drug development firm behind Sativex, has seen its share price rise nine-fold in the last 18 months on the back of highly promising findings

Wexford TD Mick Wallace made new claims that there is gardaí involved in drugs trade

A man was charged with possession of cannabis worth €680,000

Sniffer dog Stella sniffed out yet more cannabis, she and other sniffer dogs have been busy in recent times

It was reported that the first Irish drug injecting centre planned for Dublin

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