The Irish Association of Social Workers (IASW) commends the work undertaken and completed by the Citizens Assembly on Drugs Use, welcomes the Assembly’s conclusions and recommendations, and looks forward to working with all those concerned to implement the positive changes envisioned and set out for Government by the Citizens Assembly. Social workers take the view that drugs should be viewed within a social and environmental – as well as health based – context and as such, social work can offer key contributions and leadership on this issue. On the recent concluding of the work of the Citizens Assembly on Drugs and its thirty-six recommendations, Vivian Geiran, Chair of the IASW noted:
While it is positive to see the recommendations for a health-led response to drugs use, we view this as a somewhat missed opportunity for an even more progressive move to a social-led response to drugs. Social workers know, from extensive, direct frontline work with individuals and communities, that investment in holistic approaches to the harms caused by drugs, are most effective. Policies based on people and community-led approaches, which take account of social networks, social solidarity and social wellbeing would have a much greater chance of positive outcomes, than a health-led approach alone.
Social Workers strongly recommend the Oireachtas to consider the following when deliberating on the recommendations from the Citizen’s Assembly on Drugs Use:
As experts in the field of psychosocial approaches to health and wellbeing, social workers are well placed to provide leadership, training, education, knowledge, and skills towards the realisation of a new and more effective vision and reality on drugs policy in Ireland. Working in meaningful partnership with individuals, communities and others, social work will continue to help tangibly support co-produced change, from the ground up, in a rights-based way.
IASW Spokesperson: Vivian Geiran via the office on 086 0241055
Click on the link provided to view the IASW submission to the Citizens Assembly on Drug Use: https://iasw.ie/Submissions-and-Representations