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Catherine Byrne (centre) is right to inform people about safer drug use Pic: Photocall

There will always be those who decry a state drugs policy that informs as well as criminalises, but with cocaine and ketamine use spiralling, isn’t it time we made protecting people’s health more important than avoiding offence?

Picture the scene: it’s a glorious afternoon at a small Irish music festival in July. The atmosphere is relaxed and happy. Festival-goers wear glitter on their cheekbones and carry sun parasols, and the sky is a perfect, cloudless blue. Even Leo Varadkar is here, drifting across the grass by the main stage, looking pleased, taking selfies with fans. Toddlers play games of catch with their bohemian parents, while a band tunes up on the main stage. Then, into their midst, a phalanx of gardaí march sternly across the grounds. And everyone knows why.

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