OP-ED: Ireland’s Drug Liberalization Reform

By Sarah O’Brien

Ireland is in the throes of a legislative drug reform aimed at helping rather than incarcerating drug users, writes Sarah O’Brien.

A new National Drug Strategy, launched last week, could see the Misuse of Drugs Act amended to exclude jail time for those caught with small quantities of drugs like heroin, cocaine and marijuana.

Backed by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Minister for Health, Simon Harris and Minister of State for Drugs, Catherine Byrne, the contentious proposal to decriminalise personal use of some of Class A drugs, has received mixed reactions from the media and wider public.

So, what does decriminalisation actually mean?

According to the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, decriminalisation entails “the removal of all criminal penalties’ from acts relating to drug demand: acts of acquisition, possession, and consumption”.

Under current Irish legislation, persons found to be in possession of a controlled substance for personal use could face sentences of up to seven years. A class C fine of €2,500 can also be imposed at the Judge’s behest. Continue reading

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Millennial Musings: Can We Talk About Decriminalization?

By Sarah O’Brien

Last week, Irish Times journalist Seán Dunne wrote an impassioned, bombastic opinion piece delineating the dangers of decriminalizing small quantities of certain class A drugs, including Heroin and Cocaine. Amongst which, was the possibility that millennials may engage in recreational drug use and end up in a drug-induced festival catatonia. His commentary was peppered with disingenuous concern for his Starbucks-loving brethren, and professed a desire to see millennials living their “best life”.

Millennials, or Generation Y as we’re also known, is a catch-all categorization encompassing those born between 1981 and 1997. We’re the generation for whom Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Crash Bandicoot and the Fugees reigned supreme (In case there’s still any confusion, you’ll also recognize us as the cohort everyone makes soy latte and avocado toast quips about!) Continue reading

Dublin Airport Lights Social Media on Fire

By Sarah O’Brien

Sarah O’Brien argues that while sites such as Twitter and Facebook are great sources of breaking news stories, it’s very easy for false or misleading content to be uploaded and shared.

Social media and Web 2.0 is well on its mobile way to defining this generation. New statistics reveal that Irish people have the highest smartphone internet usage rates in the western world, and are we really that surprised?

As wonderful as the advancements of modern technologies are, social media has its downsides, one obvious one being that it can serve to manipulate information, whether intentionally or not.

Take the recent fire that broke out in Dublin airport last Wednesday morning. Most major media outlets used this photograph when reporting on the story. Does anything look odd about this picture? Continue reading

Limerick Responds to Growing Appetite for Vegan and Vegetarian Menus

As Limerick responds to the growing appetite for vegan and vegetarian menu options, Limerick Voice reporter Sarah O’Brien explores what’s on offer in the Treaty city.

Veganism, a lifestyle promoting compassionate living but long dismissed as the preserve of crunchy counterculture hippies, is in vogue according to a new survey.

The latest figures from the Vegan Society show that veganism has grown by a whopping 360 percent in Britain over the past 10 years.

Of that figure, almost half are between the ages of 15-42, with most dwelling in urban areas. Though there are no official stats for Ireland as of yet, if Britain’s are anything to go by, consumer demand is there and it’s growing at a phenomenal pace. Continue reading

Study Smart: Time Management Tips for Uni Students

By Sarah O’Brien  

Your time is valuable and knowing how to manage it effectively is one of most crucial skills you’ll learn at college. Good time management skills are vital to reducing and managing things like exam stress, while maximising productivity and efficiency. Remember the goal here is to work smarter not harder.

Between lectures, readings and sneaky mid-term deadlines, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed with the sheer volume of work to be done. Stepping back from the situation, so that you might gain a bit of perspective, can work wonders for stress alleviation. A good night’s sleep never went astray either-sometimes all that’s needed is 8 hours rest to recharge the old batteries.

If after that you’re still feeling suffocated by your workload, you’re probably in need of a time management boot camp. With that in mind, here are 5 ways you can maximise your time while still allowing for the occasional Netflix Binge. Continue reading

College Dating on a Budget

By Sarah O’Brien

Nothing screams “I’m a broke student” quite like handing your crush wilted Aldi flowers outside a coffee shop. We get it, you’re young, searching for love (or at least a shift) and your part-time job won’t allow for anything resembling extravagance. Not to worry, here’s how to do college dating on the cheap. Remember love doesn’t have to hurt…your pocket.

Bake together

Couples who bake together stay together so say us. Not only is baking is a super fun and cost effective way to keep the date night spend at a minimum, it’s also a brilliant rainy day activity. Start from scratch with an easy cupcake recipe or break out your Betty Crocker mix and get cracking in the kitchen. A ‘Death by Chocolate’ cake never hurt anybody. So get your Martha Stewart on and whip up some confectionery delights. The only thing you’ll be fighting over is who gets to lick the spoon! Continue reading

Things to Remember When It All Goes Wrong

By Sarah O’Brien

Whether you’re a first year grappling with timetables or a fourth year staring down the barrel of an FYP, college life will inevitably go a little south from time to time. When that happens it’s crucial to have coping strategies on hand to help you navigate the difficult times writes Sarah O’Brien.

Whatever challenges you’re facing it’s important to know you’re not alone. Talking through classwork, study strategies and deadlines with your peers or lecturers can really help clarify things at college. A burden shared is a burden halved after all. You’ll quickly find that behemoth sociology essay you’ve been struggling with is doing everyone else’s head in too. You’re in good company.

Final year students in particular, who’ve been subjected to ill-fated tales of thesis submissions, are liable to experience anxiety. The word QCA becomes the term du jour whispered in a grave fashion outside lecture halls, while classmates, whose attendance was previously so infrequent, are now the first bums on seats in lectures. Every week is a golden week and students now cling to each other for solidarity. Continue reading