Drugs Are Fine But Sex Is Still Bad?

Ireland is going to be making huge leaps and bounds in their policies on drugs, as they are set to decriminalise small amounts of them, such as cocaine, heroin, and cannabis for personal use. People around the world are going mad for this news, saying it is “about time” that we stopped shaming addicts… and yet in Ireland the idea of two consenting adults having sex if one of them has paid for it is still seen as being so disgusting that it is against the law.

daily dose of medicine - various pills, tablets and capsules on the palm of a male hand

Basically, it seems that Ireland is ready to say that using drugs is preferable to paying for sex. Here on the Escort Ireland blog we take a look at what exactly the decriminalisation of some drugs would mean for drug users in Ireland, as well as why it isn’t quite the “radical culture shift” that the country’s drugs minister is hoping for…

Current policy in Ireland

You might remember back in March of this year, when a legal loophole was found that meant, for a few days only, some drugs were legal to take and use in Ireland. This all came about when the Republic of Ireland’s court of appeal decided to take a look at the Misuse of Drugs Act of 1977.

The Act comes from the Oireachtas, and describes how the regulation of controlled substances and drugs in Ireland will be dealt with. Not only that, but they also define the penalties that people will face if they decide to take part in the unlawful production, possession, and the supply of drugs. Basically, it laid it out nice and clearly that you aren’t allowed to use drugs in Ireland.

Back in March, the court of appeal made a bit of a cock-up. This is, of course, putting it politely. They found that the Act had been amended and added to by ministerial order without actually bothering to consult the Oireachtas. This, they realised, violated article 15 of the constitution and made the entire act void.

For a few days only, drugs like ecstasy, crystal meth, ketamine and mushrooms were legal in Ireland, and this news made the headlines. This might have sparked a conversation about changing the policy in the future, as the country is going to be moving towards decriminalising these substances as a way to cause a “radical cultural shift”.

What is this “radical cultural shift”?

Now it seems that it is the turn of cannabis, heroin, and cocaine to be acceptable in society, as the chief of Ireland’s National Drugs Strategy, Aodhán Ó Riordáin, spoke out about changing the way we treat those using drugs.

It was at the London School of Economics that he said that, from next year, there will be specially designated rooms that you can find in Dublin for drug users to inject safely. They are hoping to move away from the punishment of addicts, and instead give them a chance to resolve the problem.

“I am firmly of the view that there needs to be a cultural shift in how we regard substance misuse if we are to break this cycle and make a serious attempt to tackle drug and alcohol addiction,” Mr Ó Riordáin said, but he also confirmed that there was actually a “strong consensus that drugs across the board should be decriminalised.”

What it means for drug users

It seems to be that countries are hoping to move away from treating addicts like criminals, and instead giving them a safe way to inject. This is because, according to research and findings in other countries, injection rooms seem to work out a lot better than simply trying to criminalise drug users outright. They hope that, by doing this, we can “move away from shaming addicts” and instead work on helping them overcome their addiction.

Now, this move won’t mean that drugs are completely decriminalised. In fact, it would still remain a crime to profit from the distribution or the sale of illegal drugs… it just means that those taking the drugs won’t find themselves in front of a judge.

Speaking about the injection rooms, Mr Ó Riordáin has said that “research has shown that the use of supervised injecting centres is associated with self-reported reductions in injecting risk behaviours.” This seems to be because the rooms themselves are “clinically controlled environments”, which help to prevent the vulnerable addicts from further exposing themselves to more risks. If the room in Dublin proves to be a success, we can expect to see more opening in Cork, Galway, and Limerick over the years.

Sex is still off the table

So it is definitely a step in the right direction… for drug users, anyway. However, I really doubt that this is such a “radical cultural shift”. After all, bring up the idea of paying for sex in Ireland and you will, more than likely, be shot down for supporting the exploitation of vulnerable young women. This, of course, ignores the fact that the majority of sex workers do so willingly, and that the sex industry isn’t just for young women. Mature women and even men are a part of it.

Currently in the Republic of Ireland, it is “legal” to sell sex, but many of the things associated with it are illegal. In the future we can expect them to follow in the footsteps of Northern Ireland, who have taken on the Swedish model. The Swedish model means that paying for sex is illegal, and so the clients are punished. Yes, the users are punished, which is the complete opposite of what is happening with the use of drugs in Ireland.

In the future, it will be totally fine for you to shoot up and smoke weed, but if you were to meet an escort and pay her for sex, despite the fact that you are two consulting adults, you would be a criminal. Drugs are now good, but paying for sex? Nope. Still bad. Shaming a drug addict? Terrible. Shaming a punter? Go for it.

Are you as shocked about this “radical cultural shift” as we are? What can we do to show how hypocritical it is to criminalise the client of a sex worker and yet let drug users go free? Yes, I am all for helping drug addicts to overcome their addiction, but can’t we treat the clients of sex workers with the same respect that drug users will be shown in the very near future? Let us know what you think in the comment box below, or join in the discussion on the Escort Ireland forum.

Lara Mills
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Lara Mills

Lara Mills is a writer who has four years of sex industry expertise behind her. Since she entered the adult industry, she has worked on the Escort Advertising forums, before moving into her current role three years ago.

Since then she has gained a fine reputation with her blogs on sex advice, sexual health and amusing news stories from around the globe. She is also a campaigner for the rights of sex workers from all over the world.

In her spare time, Lara keeps herself active by going running, and is something of a film buff. She also loves to go travelling.
Lara Mills
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